Striking the Balance in Discipline

Unfortunately, there are endless scenarios, and no one rule about what to do in every case. … Sometimes you listen carefully to your kid. And sometimes you just put him on the scales.

– French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman

I used feel like what Druckerman likened in her book to dancing salsa: when to be strict and no-nonsense, and when to literally stoop to my child’s level and try to understand why he was throwing tantrums rolling down on the floor. I used to be a hard-core disciplinarian and resorted to a smack whenever my toddler didn’t obey. Then, I noticed that he started hitting too, and I got worried that I was sending the wrong message to him; that hitting is okay when the other party is not complying. So I switched to the other extreme after reading Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham. According to her, I should acknowledge his emotions (e.g. “I know that you are angry.”) instead of hitting or yelling. So I tried that but it didn’t work. The toddler is still hitting, and I even got into a disagreement with the husband (a.k.a. the daddy) who strongly felt that there are times when a smack on the bottom is necessary. I became confused.

As a Christian, I then tried to reconcile God’s word on “to not spare the rod” with God’s loving nature. I am pretty sure that God’s wisdom is beyond wielding the cane whenever a toddler decides to defy my instructions. So I turned to Christian literature and read the Parenting Collection by Dr. James Dobson. I found the answer to my question in p. 16 of the book.

First, they (parents) should decide whether an undesirable act represents a direct challenge to their authority .. The form of disciplinary action they take should depend on the result of that evaluation.

Aha!

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