Going beyond 'one-size-fits-all' discipline

A mother asked me once, "How do you discipline your child? I have tried everything - even time-outs - but they don't seem to work."

I wasn't sure how to answer her. I didn't use the popular "time-out" method of asking my preschool son to sit by himself to calm down. As a matter of fact, I didn't have a specific formula. The question prompted me to give my disciplinary style some thought.

This wasn't the first time a mom had discussed child-rearing techniques with me, but it was the first time someone asked such a direct question.

When the going gets tough, I have learned to always pause and evaluate the situation.

If my son is especially whiny, or cranky, or on the verge of tears, I ask myself why this is happening. It is especially important to do this as soon as possible. If I wait too long, I'll have quite a storm to contend with.

I ask myself: Have I been dragging him around all day running errands? Am I too focused on something else that can wait?

Children slow us down - and that's what they are supposed to do. I find some of my most precious moments come from these difficult times.

When I stop what I'm doing, literally get down on my knees, look my son in the eyes, tell him I love him, and give him a hug, it isn't long before things become calm. After that we usually talk about what happened and what we learned from it.

So, how do I discipline my child? I guess I'd have to say I use "time-in" with my son, and he's learning how to use "time-in" with Mom, too. What a great game we're having!

Parents: To submit a first-person essay on your own parenting solutions, send an e-mail to home@csps.com, or write to Parenting, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK