Discipline and Training

Today was a good day in most respects.  The weather was gloomy and it threatened rain which finally has started to fall now that the children have been tucked in their beds.

This afternoon saw me having to drive to St. Marys with the children to pay our Lawyer bill for services rendered in our failed house purchase.  That bill has made my husband furious, but I am actually relieved to pay this bill.  The Lawyer saved us so very many, many grief’s over that deal.  Then he gave us a very large discount on those services because he hoped his bill would not prevent us from attempting to buy another house.  He made up this bill before we contacted him in regards to the house we are purchasing in Guelph.  Only his office mis-addressed the bill so we didn’t get it until well into dealing with him regarding the Guelph house.

Anyhow.  I bring this up because my children were fairly well behaved, but then it quickly degenerated.  They wanted to go to MacPherson’s, which is a lovely craft of all sorts store.  The thing is I hesitate to take the children into a store like that because the touchy-feely aspect of shopping really comes out in these kinds of stores.  Only, unlike a dollar store where touchy-feely accidents result in a minor dent to the pocketbook, MacPherson’s results in a very large dent to the pocketbook.  A dent into the Grocery bill type of dent.

The children did fairly well.  I allowed them to fill one bag from the bin of beads.  My son didn’t listen and despite my repeated directions to put a bunch back, managed to burst a $2 bag of beads all over the store floor.  There I was on my hands and knees with him picking up and chasing beads.  The store owner helpfully got me a broom and dust pan, but I was fuming.

I told the daughter to sit on the step and not help.  I looked up to see her touching and playing with all of the painted baby dolls they sell.  Average Price tag $350.  She received a scolding.

The shop keeper was on the phone by the time we finished and I had to wait for her.  My children then decided to play a game of tag.  Very quickly they were sent to sit on separate steps in separate locations.  This worked fine until I became engrossed in paying the bill.  My son got up and started chasing his sister.  I very quickly noticed and sent them back.

Then we went to the grocery store.  On the way I had a discussion with them regarding how disappointed I was that the second my eye was off them, they disobeyed my direction.

I told them they would have another chance to show me they listen at the grocery store.  I didn’t promise them a reward, or anything else.  I want them to listen because there will be times when my directions are life-saving.

At the store I told them they would have to hold the cart the way they did when they were younger.  Both on the same side with Son behind Daughter as she is younger and shorter.  They were not to let go of the buggy without permission.

Wouldn’t you know, everytime I stopped the buggy to get an item, Son would let go.  Then daughter would follow.  The correction and verbal discipline would quickly follow, but I realized that somewhere along time, I have lost the battle with their behaviour in public.

There was a better time for me.  I had, in the past, done the drop the cart and into the car and we are going home because of your bad behaviour.  But living so far away from town, not having the car often and wanting to make the most of my gas use, I have become increasingly tolerant of their antics.  I guess I readily excused their behaviour because they were tired and I had to do so many stops.

Then tonight the Daughter spilled a huge container of water on the down mattress cover I had set in the room of boxes to be packed.  She snuck the water by me, because she knew it wasn’t allowed.  Then they wanted to hide their error and the sound of the tape gun alerted me to some sort of bad behaviour.

I was so angry, as all I could picture was unpacking a moldy down mattress cover a month from now!

But quickly I felt frustrated, realizing that I have been letting the excuse of having to be the single “parent” in regards to discipline get in the way of good parenting.

So I sat here tonight reading various articles on the internet.  When I was struck by a few comments.

I am well aware of Discipline.  As my husband will tell you, I am good at delivering what I promise.  And yet, to me Discipline is a very frustrating parenting experience!  No matter what method you use, it is always employed after a bad behaviour as a consequence of said behaviour.  The definition of Discipline is such that it is understood you don’t administer Discipline without cause!

But one courageous soul pointed out something that I had not really thought through completely.  Discipline very quickly becomes over-done if no Training has taken place prior to the administration of Discipline.

Which is true if you think of it!  Really, no piano recital should happen without the pupil having spent time in practice!  And no practice can take place if there are no structures, such as sheet music, chords, music theory, composers, and so forth!

Ah, Consistancy!  Yes, I hear the praise of consistancy.  To me this is Fool’s Gold to a degree.  To me, the only consistancy in life is that a human can not be consistant.  We can strive towards this and we can achieve routine, but to be consistant is very, very hard.

For me I need to have a strong sense of investment in something to be Consistant.  Since I will need to exercise Will Power and Constraint to be Consistant, I need to have a lot of Commitment!

An example is housework:  There are times when I seem to be very able to keep a clean and lovely home.  Usually those are times when I feel that my husband loves me dearly, my children are a pleasure to be with, the bills are under control, and Life is good.  Those things give me a lot of desire to have a pretty home to go with the pretty life.  But when I I have issues with some of those things, my house suffers.

I am getting slightly off-topic here.  Taking this back to Training.  Yes, I am fairly consistant in my Discipline.  I have a lot of motivation, Bibilical: God put these children in my life to raise up in the light of His Love and Word, Love: I love those critters will every ounce I have, and Societal: when something goes wrong “they” look to me to see why.

And I have done a lot of study on the topic of Discipline.  I think I strike a fairly good balance.  I think I do a good job on Discipline.  I think I manage to avoid Dictatorship and run along the lines of Benevolent Monarchy the majority of the time.

But Training!  I have let that go.  Yes, I can see that I have been sending my little troops into the public eye with little in the way of training.  I have given them a list of demands.  But I have not really made sure they will understand and desire to comply.  No, instead in the past I have relied on, “When you disobey the command, then such a consequence will happen.”

The consequence would be, we will leave and the fun will stop.  But that was not practical.  For one thing, I needed to complete said errand.  And on the other side, who really controlled that situation anyways?

So now I will spend sometime and try and think of ways to Train my Troops.  Twill be interesting!  I can see some interesting times ahead!

[btw, sorry for all the Capital Letters…just having fun I guess!]

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