D is for Discipline, D is also for Distraction and P is for Patience.

There comes a point where your gorgeous little bundle of joy is evolving into a toddler and along with that comes a certain amount of trouble, tantrums and tears from both your darling child and yourself!

Depending on how you deal with these often distressing situations will set a precedent for the rest of yours and your child’s relationship and indeed your child’s relationship with the world he/she lives in.

So, just yesterday I had a battle of the wills going on with my 1 year old, he was trying to empty a cupboard in the kitchen full of glass jugs and Pyrex bowls (we ran out of cupboard locks on the last cupboard – as is sods law) I was saying “no” and moving him away, this went on over and over and over until I moved the kitchen table in front of said cupboard. As I was getting angrier and angrier with my defiant little person and kicking myself for handing down my single minded, independent stubborn streak, I found myself raising my voice and fighting the urge to give him a ‘harmless’ smack. And then I wondered how I would feel if my husband gave me a harmless smack when I’m behaving in the same stubborn way. Of course the thought of a man smacking a woman sends shivers down all of our spines and wouldn’t be accepted under any circumstances……….so is smacking a small child different??

I feel very uncomfortable at the thought of a grown adult smacking a child, there are so many other ways to handle heated situations, and nothing can be bad enough that only physical punishment will resolve it? If you find yourself at the point of no return, make sure the child is safe and then leave the room to calm down. Even if you leave the child crying, it’s the worse of the evils if you find yourself about to strike.

The form of discipline I swear by is ‘distraction’ a child is easily distracted when the distraction is sold in the right way. Your child will always follow your lead, if you’re having more fun with the train than the Pyrex dish then it won’t take long for you little one to be sat chuff chuffing alongside you.

Of course the downside of distraction is that it’s exhausting. When it starts at 6am and finishes at 7pm it can become a little wearing. This is where ‘patience’ makes an appearance; you need to keep in the fore front of your mind that effort now will pay dividends in the future. It’s too easy to sit back and let your kids get away with all manner of behaviours and go around trashing the place but you have to consider what kind of adult that will make. Do you want a teenager who thinks it’s ok to go around aimlessly smashing up Pyrex, to not have any manners or to have no respect for authority and worst of all, to smack others?

We all have good days and bad days but we need to remember we are ‘Mum’ every day and our job is to make our offspring viable for adult life and all the troubles that can bring. Our children need to have a sense of right from wrong, they need to be able to read a social situation, they need to be strong enough of character to get where they want to be and for you to be able to maintain any kind of healthy relationship with them, they need to respect you. This will all come from discipline in the early years. Alongside all the benefits a bit of discipline brings it also allows us to set boundaries. Boundaries are essential when raising children, it offers the security that allows the child to grow confidence in a safe environment and as they get older you can explain that discipline is in place because you love them and you want them to be the best them they can be and that you’ve set the boundaries to let them know that you’ve got their backs.

I am fairly strict on my children, manners are non-negotiable and respect for others is expected. But, my children know they’re loved and are growing into amazing people……..I look at my teenage children and there’s a pride that swells within me, they are loving, caring, confident, polite, happy well balanced individuals who have goals and dreams. And I know that all my hard work is paying off, I can set them free into adulthood knowing that they’re ready.

Now, I’ve just gotta remember that when my little fella is testing me to the limits. Discipline is a rite of passage when raising children…….it’s how you deal with it that’ll make the difference.