WT 102: How Do I Discipline Well?

Welcome back moms! Today we are dealing with a favorite topic around here: discipline! We answer discipline questions a lot, but I don’t know if there is anything else moms deal with more consistently that sucks so much life out of us and leaves us feeling unequipped and discouraged. And Wire Talk is all about equipping and encouraging, so let’s see what we can do to answer the questions from these mamas today.

Question 1: I'm a mother to a 2 year old daughter. My husband and I work full time and we have a nanny that comes over and watches her 5 days a week. My daughter is so well behaved with the nanny (she's been with us since she was 5 months old). She lets her dress her with no problem she eats better with her, everything.  Whenever I come home from work she latches on to me and won't let me do anything. I've stopped picking her up because that didn't help, so now she grabs on to my leg and is rude to her father when he gets home. She only wants mommy. Eventually I have to give in and let her watch tv or do something I wouldn't want her to do so I can get dinner started. If I ignore her she screams until I can't handle it anymore. How am I supposed to get anything done when I get home if she doesn't let me go?

Karen's Answer: Great question! I think there are a couple of things going on.  First off, since your child minds the nanny, I would talk to the nanny and see how she is handling situations, what disciplines she uses. Then I would do the same things because it is working and it is best to be consistent. The other factor here is that your daughter misses you.  She’s hanging onto your leg because she wants your attention. You can do a few things here: You can give her your undivided attention for 30 minutes to an hour when you get home, and then say, “Mommy is going to start dinner, play here or come help me in the kitchen”. When she goes to “help” you, let her play with your Tupperware with a wooden spoon, or tell her to put the napkins on the table or something easy. Let her stay in the kitchen with you, but give her something to do. If she keeps on crying, then go put her in her crib until she can stop. Tell her if she keeps screaming, you are going to leave her in her crib, but if she stops, she can come join you in the kitchen. These new habits will more than likely take some time to establish, so try and be patient, but be consistent. Last thing, try prepping meals on the weekend, so when you come home, all you have to do is pop the dish in the oven. That way, you can spend quality time with your daughter and have dinner ready in a reasonable time. I know this is all a lot of work, and it’s hard, but if you can break the bad habits now, it will be easier in the long run. One more thing, when your daughter is disrespectful to your husband correct her and tell her she cannot talk to her dad that way. Decide on which course of action you are going to take and then stick with it!


Question 2: When I go to correct/punish my children I always think, “what do I do if my children decide to not be obedient or they choose not to listen in spite of the correction?” (For example I put my child in time-out and they keep getting up, I continue putting them back… but the whole time in my head I’m wondering is time-out really what I should be doing)? I don’t even know what a good punishment or correction is most of the time I’m clueless as to what privilege to take away or do I do time-out or what?? (My kids are really young, 2 1/2 and almost 5).

Karen's Answer: My answer is don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow for today. But, there maybe a time where your punishment doesn’t work, and when that time comes, you need to pick a different punishment, probably something harsher.  In all punishment we have to find the right currency for our child and that always seems to change as your child grows. Don’t worry or think about what might happen.  :)


Question 3: I have 3 children, 2 of them being 3 year old twin girls. One of these girls often has tantrums that can last for hour. Any tips for dealing with tantrums?

Karen's Answer: When your child has a tantrum, don’t give into the tantrum. That is the worse thing you can do.  Ignore the tantrum, or go put your child in her room and tell her she cannot come out until she settles down.  Tantrums are a way that children get what they want. You have to educate them, teach them that is not acceptable.  Don’t give into the tantrum, walk away.


Question 4: While my husband and I are very respectful to one another and our children, both our 5 and 3 year old sons are often very disrespectful even though they are being mostly obedient in the task we ask them to complete. Any tips to squash the disrespect?

Karen's Answer: Call it out. Tell your boys, that even though they are obeying you, and you appreciate that, but they need to be kind while they are doing what you told them.  I think sometimes, especially the ages of your boys, we have to teach the right way to behave. Tell them, when you talk that way to me or dad, or you roll your eyes or you have a bad attitude, that is just as wrong as disobeying me.  Tell them, “Let’s try to obey and have a good attitude at the same time, I know you can do it because you are sweet, kind boys.” I’m sure I did :) I can remember my kids picking up toys, or putting away their book bags, mumbling under their breath. I would say, “Do you have something to say to me?” and they would respond, “No”, and I would say, “Okay, then quit mumbling under your breath.” Try and develop thick skin to all of this kind of stuff. They are just being children, pushing back against you. It’s normal. But, I wouldn’t let disrespect continue, it only gets worse the older they get.

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Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Becoming a Student of your Child

The Power of A Praying Parent