Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I couldn't believe my ears. Well, actually, I guess I could, but I didn't WANT to believe what I was hearing.
There I was. In Wal-Mart. I was trying to see over two moms talking, who were standing in front of the vitamins I was needing to get to. They were talking about disciplining their children. One of the moms was saying she had just spanked her child for some behavior he had exhibited that was less than acceptable. And then the other said it. Words that almost made me come out of my skin.
"I have a hard time disciplining my son. He's just soooooo sensitive."
***ME- GASPING FOR AIR***
Let me tell you what I REALLY heard. "I won't discipline my son because he is a master at using his emotions to manipulate me into not dealing with the issues I should have the backbone to deal with." PERIOD.
Sensitive? PLEASE. They are children, not baby shampoo. True sensitivity is a blessing, not a crutch. I know, I know. Some kids are more emotional than others. Some don't need the same type of stern discipline that others require. But GIVE ME A BREAK. As if "sensitive" children shouldn't be disciplined because he can make his lip quiver just at the right time?
Don't get me wrong. I understand that not every child is the same. I hardly ever was spanked. A good sit-down talk was usually all I had to have to get my tail in line. Then along came my sister. She broke every parenting theory to pieces. So, I get it. They aren't all tough guys. But the thing is, children are SMART. And even "good" kids know how to manipulate their way into their parents' hearts and minds and get what they want.
So how do you deal with a "sensitive" child?
1. Before you threaten discipline, be SURE you can follow through.
2. Know your child. This does NOT mean cater to your child. It means know their bend/tendencies BEFORE a situation arises that requires discipline.
3. Have very clear cause and effects spelled out ahead of time.
4. Purpose ahead of time to not give in to the emotions of the moment. Wait until your head is clear and your heart is settled before approaching discipline. The quivering chin will make you cave if you don't keep your purpose in front of you.
5. Remember that even "sweet" children are children. They have to be trained. Period.
As I was listening to this lady make excuses for her poor decisions, I thought, "Yep. And one day you'll have this child in some youth pastor's office, demanding we fix him because he's finally ran into something he can't manipulate anymore!" Parents, the word "discipline" means training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.
Welp... Seems there's no exception. We have a job to do, regardless of our little charge's personality. Man up and do it!