Disciplining is something I find unpleasant. I really don’t enjoy it one tiny bit, and because I’m with the boys more, I almost always bear the brunt of it. I don’t enjoy telling Win and Ru to be kind to one another over and over again, I don’t enjoy asking them to go upstairs and sit on their beds until they have calmed down, I don’t enjoy confiscating toys that they fight over, I don’t enjoy removing privileges or listening to them being upset and unhappy, but I don’t feel bad either (unless I’ve overreacted). I believe that discipline is a really necessary, and important part of life. I believe it brings confidence, teaches the importance of consequences, encourages dealing with emotions in a healthy way and promotes resilience.
Being a disciplinarian is a role that is always there. You have to be on the ball. You have to be consistent. You have to be able to think quickly and make decisions. Was it on purpose? Was it an accident? Who provoked who? Are they attention seeking, and if yes, then why? Can they sort it out themselves? Should I ignore the whining? What is the reason behind their behaviour? Are they just being silly? Should I intervene? Are they testing me so they know that I care? Will a hug solve everything? When is a good time to talk to them about it?What deal can we make? Are they overtired? The list goes on.
It is definitely the part of parenting that (for now) I find most tiring, and as the two eldest get older, I’m learning to back off. Jared and I often talk about what is working, what isn’t, and we always recommit to being calmer, less shouty and more patient. Although I don’t enjoy having to discipline my children – I do think that it makes our relationships stronger. I think that we build trust, we learn how to say sorry to one another (me included) and it can be a really positive experience. It’s a way of showing my boys that I care about them.
On being pregnant with Win I honestly thought that I (sort of) knew what parenting would entail (now hilarious). I’d grown up around babies, I’d changed nappies, helped my siblings with homework, helped clean the house, done the food shopping, cooked and ironed. What I didn’t factor in (along with a billion and one other things) is that when you really deeply care about people, it can weigh so heavily on you. Sometimes the responsibility of being a parent can just feel so huge.
I love being a parent. I really do, but not all parts are enjoyable. The highs have been happier than I ever imagined, more fulfilling and more amazing – the way your heart expands, accommodates and envelops these new people is beyond my comprehension. Yet, the tricky parts have been more overwhelming than I ever imagined. The exhaustion I’ve experienced, the confusion and the mental overload, as well as knowing that I need (and want) to be a good role model for them – something I often fail miserably at.
When I think back to what I was like as a young girl, a teen and then a young adult – I cringe. I cringe at the things I used to say to my parents, I cringe at how I expected things, I cringe that my mum had to nag me over and over again to do things, I cringe at how annoying I was, and then I cringe because I know I have all this to come.