Tag Archives: discipline

Parenting Can be Exhausting {Encouragement for Today}

I really really really love this article which a friend (thanks Racquel!)  sent to me this morning. Off the back of my lost post about parenting, I just feel like this seemingly simple forwarded email from a friend, is like a confirmation love letter directly from God to me! Don’t you love it when you get those? Like you just know in your spirit that it can be nothing other than God talking directly to you, through other people. I’ve been battling with this discipline thing, I really have. But God has reminded me and comforted me again through the well timed article below.

It comes from Sharon Glasgow, who writes for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Go take a look at their site, they have some great resources.

May 1, 2013

Parenting Can be Exhausting
Sharon Glasgow

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)

We were already late for church when the fight began. One daughter was upset the other had told a lie. I sighed. Not right before it’s time to leave, please!

It’d been a long week and I was tired. But lies are not allowed in the Glasgow home and this was something I had to take care of now. I called both girls to The Pink Couch, the place set aside to talk to our children.

They both sat down and gave their side of the story. It was clear who was telling the truth and who wasn’t. I dismissed the one that wasn’t lying and asked the one who did to admit she had and to say sorry. She wouldn’t. After 15 minutes she still hadn’t confessed. She was only four, but don’t let a four year old fool you, she knew I needed to get out the door. I was her Sunday School teacher.

It would have been so easy to put her lie on the back burner, but I made an executive decision. “Dale would you teach my class today? I can’t leave until this is resolved.” As the rest of our family headed out the door, I told my daughter that until she told the truth she would sit on The Pink Couch. An hour passed, then two, then three. How could my child who normally couldn’t sit still for thirty minutes bide her time without any entertainment for hours? Though we were sitting quietly, waiting it out drained me.

Finally, she admitted her lie with a sincere heart and said, “I’m sorry.” We hugged and to this day I’ve never heard her say another lie.

I’ve got five almost-grown daughters now. Whew! The discipline part was a lot of work and one thing remained constant whether they were four or 14—discipline always took time, wisdom, discernment and love.

It would have been easier and saved energy to just let the lie slide. But, the Bible tells us “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:11).

Discipline is not fun for those receiving it OR for those administering it. Let’s be honest, parenting can be exhausting! But consistency comes with a great reward. Investing time and ensuring the same consequences yields good fruit in our children’s lives.

My husband and I have pear trees on our land. Some can take years to bear fruit, but with regular watering, pruning and fertilizing, our trees eventually show the results of our labor.

Most parents would say they desire for their kids to grow up and live in peace with the Lord. That’s exactly the outcome Hebrews 12:11 promises us if we don’t give up when our children are young. Rather than making a quick decision that only modifies their behavior for the moment, we have to aim at changing our children’s hearts for the long term.

As my then four-year-old daughter and I sat for hours that Sunday morning, I knew I had to nip this in the bud or the consequences would negatively impact her future. She’s an adult now and will gladly tell you what a strong impact the discipline of sitting on The Pink Couch had on her.

Unimaginable energy goes into raising godly children. You may want to do what I did: stay on your knees in prayer and mediate on the Word day and night so that you can be encouraged and have wisdom on rearing your kids. It can be exhausting, but the work is worth the great reward!

Dear Lord, give me the wisdom, discernment, time and love I need to discipline my children to be the godly people You desire. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

My Father’s Love…

I look at these mothers who are so calm and chilled and I wonder to myself, how do you do it? I am a shouter, highly strung and easily irritated. My patience does not runneth over, in fact it runneth very much under. I didn’t think I would be this kind of parent, but I guess I lost the plot when I had two babies so close to each other and parenting them left me frazzled on the best of days and my outlet was shouting – at them, at the situation, at my husband. I’ve seen mothers of multiples and they aren’t frazzled and crazy like I can be, so this is not my excuse, it’s MY truth. Maybe my coping mechanism.

It isn’t good. I don’t want to have to yell to get a reaction. And now it seems I don’t get a reaction unless I yell! Of course this is all my fault, my kids reflect what they are exposed to. Maybe it’s the age we’re at, but Liam’s listening skills have become so bad that I find myself yelling ALL the time. Hannah is as stubborn as a mule and I have to yell to get anything done with her. With the effect, I think the neighbours think we are running some sort of child torture chamber. I am constantly nagging and whining and yelling at them to get things done. It is so frustrating.

I’ve been feeling really bad about all of this. It got me thinking about our own Heavenly Father. The Bible says that God is “slow to get angry and huge in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and rebellion and sin”  (Num 14:18MSG). If he parents us like this, and we are made in His image, I’m guessing he wants us to be like this too? I want to be slow to get angry, I want to be quick to forgive and HUGE in LOYAL LOVE. How awesome is that? (it does go on to say that God does meter out punishment, which is more my parenting style, but let’s not focus on that right now, ha!). Rebellion – this term comes to mind when I think of my children! But God forgives us of our rebellion if we repent, what right then do I have to lose it with my kids against their rebellion – especially because childish rebellion is nothing on the rebellion that we offer up to our Heavenly Father everyday!

The Bible says that God rejoices over me with gladness, he QUIETS me by His love and He exalts over me with loud singing (Zeph 3:17). OH MY WORD!! Over me Lord?? Do you know how that makes me feel? It makes me feel like a million bucks, it makes me feel loved and special and warm and fuzzy. That my Creator feels like that about me, little ‘ol me with all my warts, blows my mind. It makes me want to be good at what I do, it makes me want to be a better person for Him. Furthermore, I need to extend this same kind of love to my children. I need to rejoice over them, I need to QUIETEN THEM WITH MY LOVE and not with shouting and screaming, I need them to know that their creation makes me want to sing from the mountain tops because they are just that fabulous and bring me that much joy – most of the time. Because I need and want THEM to feel like a million bucks too!

I don’t want to be that parent who goes off her head the minute the kids act up, I don’t want my kids to act up BECAUSE I go off my head! I can’t rewind the past, but I can fix the future. I’m not saying that yelling is wrong and that we should pussyfoot around our children and never raise a voice (or a hand) to them. Believe me, I am NOT that kind of parent. The Bible specifically speaks about discipline being a Godly directive for Christian parents (sparing the rod and all of that) but it also talks about a different kind of discipline – about not exasperating our children by coming down hard on them, but by taking them by the hand and leading them in the way of the Master (Eph 6:4). I do think that my shouting exasperates them, imagine if your boss (or a person in a position of authority ) shouted at you all day long to get things done. We expect people to be civil and talk to us with the respect we deserve, right. Then more so the people in our very homes, the people we love, right?

I am so far from the Godly model, but I want to try to improve. We can all do things better, right? Parenting is so difficult, and I must laugh at how I thought that the most difficult times were the sleepless nights and the overflowing laundry basket. Turns out that was the easiest part! Ha! Everyone wants to tell you what a blessing kids are, how amazing children are and what a joy to be involved in creation! Um yeh ok, maybe 5% of the time, but the rest of the time raising children is HARD and frustrating and sometimes soul crushing and I deal with constant feelings of inadequacy and ineptitude. But I don’t need to feel like this, I CAN improve, I can look to MY Heavenly Father who knows my weaknesses just as he knows my heart and look to His example as a parent to help me on my parenting journey.

I am not going to stop shouting, if you know me, you’ll know that this is my personality. I shout to show my emotion – whether happy, sad, angry or excited. But I am going to pray for a calmness and a stillness of spirit that allows me to say what I need to say without scaring the neighbours or my children. A calmness to deal with the daily toiling of raising a robust almost 3 and 4 year old.

Will you pray for me too?


WOAH NELLY. I mean Hannah.

This kid has really come into her own little 2 year old self. The tantrums, the rolling of the eyes, the clicking of the tongue and the wagging of her index finger have kicked in full force. She does that bendy-body-fall-on-the-floor-in-a-heap thing that would put any Asian gymnast to shame, as she contorts her body as if the victim of an exorcism. It would be quite amusing, if we weren’t stunned into silence by the craziness of it all. Liam used to throw tantrums, in fact he still does. But I’ve never quite seen the Dead Cockroach Dance quite the way Hannah does it.

And oh the tears. I used to feel so sorry for my little baby when she would cry. She has this heart breaking little bleat that just makes me want to tuck her back into her placenta and back into my tummy where she was safe and happy. BUT NOW. This kid is going to be famous. For being an opera singer. Boy, she can yell. And she is unrelenting and inexorable: MERCILESS. She will go on and on until she is good and ready. No amount of cajoling or threat of punishment or disregard (if we ignore her) works. She will cry until she has had enough of the sound of her own voice and then just stop and carry on like nothing has happened.

I can’t remember exactly, but I do believe that Liam was easily placated. He would throw a tantrum, I would fix the problem: tantrum over. OR we would ignore him and he’d get bored of tantrum-ing on his own without an audience. But Hannah? No way jose, she is quite happy to wail on for hours. I’m all for releasing pent up frustration or anger or whatever has gotten your goat, go on and have a good scream if you must, but for the love of my ears’ hearing, please do it when you’re alone out in the woods or when you’re submersed under water. Not on my kitchen floor when you don’t like my dinner choice, not in the bathroom when I place you in the tub instead of letting you get in yourself, not in your car seat because you don’t want to be strapped in and most definitely not in the mall because you want shot gun in the trolley. Night before last, I got home and she had clearly missed a nap somewhere along the line; she was like a bat out of hot hell. I couldn’t even look at her and she would throw me daggers and burst into tears. I mean if she’s like this at two, what am I in for when she’s 13 years old?!

When she isn’t trying out for a part in The Marriage of Figaro or some other famous opera, she IS a loving, tender beautiful child. Which is why this pendulum swing gets us all into a dizzy tizz. Even Liam blocks his ears and hums loudly over the operatic performance, I usually ignore her until I can’t take it any longer and have to leave the room and her daddy, who thinks even her cries are angelic, tries (most times in vain) to make his baby SHUT UP. Ha!

I’ve lived through the Terrible Twos, so I know this won’t cause me a slow painful whiny death, even though it feels like it at the time. But boy, I can’t wait for this phase to be over!

Hannah Pushkin Pudding Baby, you give your mother grey hairs, you do.

Gone are the days…

Gone are the days when I could get away with feeding the kids porridge for dinner

You know those days when you just cannot be bothered to cook a separate meal for the kids so you give them cereal for supper? Yes? No? Not really? Well that’s how I roll. I’ve done it often, without a stitch of guilt I’ll have you know. Porridge is a good source of protein after all… the way I see it, it’s the same thing as feeding your kid a good piece of steak, so really the little baby should not be whining. Anyway, last night we had lamb curry for supper and usually I will ask Zoleka to cook a separate meal for the kids, but yesterday I completely forgot about the sprogs. So we got home and I pulled out the Weetbix but Liam was flabbergasted that I would even suggest Weetbix for supper. When did this kid grow up and understand the difference between food groups? He all but lambasted me for my bad judgment call and Daddy was forced to scramble some eggs and bake up some fish fingers for their supper.

Gone are the days when I could lie about Disney Junior and Cbeebies being broken

In order to get some viewing time, I used to tell them that their channels were broken and only mommy’s channels worked, so they’d have to go and find something else to do while mommy watched TV and stuffed her face in front of the box (again no guilt whatsoever). These days, it’s like they have channels 306 and 309 on speed dial. They can work the remote, almost as professionally as I can work the keypad on my phone. And yes, I have tried hiding the remote, but they know the source – and have no problems pressing every single button on the DSTV decoder until they find Jake’s gold doubloons (bet you didn’t know that’s what those gold coins are called?! I had to Google it).

 Gone are the days when the policeman was one who was feared and revered

I used to love using SAPS in order to help me discipline the kids; I’d tell them that the big bad policeman would come over if they didn’t do X, Y or Z. It worked really well until Liam learned about job descriptions at school. Now he looks at me with a bored-to-death expression and tells me that policemen are there to help and protect people, not shout at small children.

 Gone are the days when my words were gospel

Fridays are treat days and we usually stop at the garage on the way to work and let Liam choose a treat for himself (he always chooses jelly beans). But some Fridays we just don’t have time or energy or money to stop. On these days, I used to tell him that it was any day OTHER than Friday. This used to work pretty well, he would accept his mother’s words as gospel, as every child should. THESE days he knows exactly what day of the week it is, when I try to fib he reminds me by singing his Days of the Week song – a gratingly irritating tune that goes something like “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, seven days are in a week and each one is a FUN day. Every day is a brand new staaaart, wave hello to Mr Sun as he rises, and wheeeeen the day is done, down goes the sun, tomorrow brings some new surprises!” That’s the short version, it goes on and on. Then he makes ME sing it because apparently I don’t know the days of the week because HOW could I have possibly thought that TODAY wasn’t Friday? Now pull over and get me my jelly beans.

Gone are the days when I could blog to my  heart’s content.

These days I have to politely ask for some time to use MY electronics in order to blog, browse or bleat on Twitter. These kids are all over my iPad like a bad rash. The worst part is that they are better at using it than I am. They open and close apps with ease, they know all the short cuts, they know how to adjust the volume and they give me dirty looks if I so much as try to get Talking Tom Cat to repeat something silly that I blurt out over their one on one repertoire with the Kitty. The only thing I need to teach them is how to turn the cellular data off when they get going, so that they don’t start shopping up a storm while my back is turned. I mean really.

When James Brown sang “This is a Man’s World” he evidently didn’t know any children, because clearly this is a kid’s world. What I have noticed is that as my kids grow and their intelligence levels increase, my bionic mommy powers decrease: the roles are slowly switching… these children seem to be teaching this parent way more than this parent is teaching these children.

Confession: I beat my kids!

So we all want to be fun mom. We all want to be the cool parent and secretly we want to be better or more loved than Dad (except when we really need a break and don’t want to hear, see or smell a kid). I want my kids to positively adore me. So far my track record isn’t looking too good. I’m definitely bad cop. Which is fine… for now. I prefer to be the disciplinarian because I think my husband smacks too hard, shouts too loud, gives unreasonable punishment and basically doesn’t do it MY way… my husband tells me that I think I am perfect and if he isn’t doing it my way, then I think he is doing it wrong. By Jove, he has FINALLY gotten it! Ha, I’m kidding. Anyway, back to my point, as much as I want to be the cool parent, it appears that raising toddlers brings out the ugly in you sometimes, like I actually get tired of hearing my own whiny voice asking them to stop it, get off the counters, stop smacking each other, stop yelling, go to bed, eat your food, stop spitting… and the list goes on. How am I supposed to be cool, when I am so busy being bad cop?

My fuse is short; I admit that I have the patience of a toddler, ironic much? Don’t mess with me if you’re under 4 years old and have a self imposed hearing problem (i.e you choose not to listen!), I will win. I do not take kindly to rudeness or ill manners. I acknowledge that there is a vast difference between a child who is curious, testing boundaries and inquisitive to the point where it gets him/her into trouble, versus a child who displays abominable behaviour all the time. I should have been a school principal in the ‘80s with a cane, I would have rocked! Jokes aside, I do believe that discipline plays a vital role in raising one’s kids. Children need parents to create these parameters or boundaries, in order to feel safe and secure WITHIN the lines, and to also understand the consequences of stepping OUT of the lines. It’s not to make them afraid of you, but to create mutual respect, and it helps to create an understanding of how authority and accountability works.

Now I do believe that discipline depends on the kid in question. Some children just don’t need as much discipline as the next, or perhaps the boundary lines don’t have to be drawn with non removable paint (some kids are stubborn like that), as opposed to just lightly in the sand. Point in case, my sisters two boys. From the time they could walk and talk, they’ve just been kids who listen, who are chilled, who do what their parents tell them to do, who don’t need to be reprimanded every five minutes. My sister just needs to give them “the look” and they stop what they are doing. So they have never had to take extreme disciplinary measures with their kids. I’ve tried every blinking look in the book, to the point where it looks like I have a mental problem or a nervous tick, and it just doesn’t work. MY two on the other hand, are a little more “boisterous”, shall we say? I’ve tried many ways to “tame” them (all these euphemisms in a bid to keep the babysitters from running away) and I’ve concluded that corporal punishment works the best.  SHOCK-HORROR-CALL-THE-COPS. I do use time out, I do come down to their level and talk in my stern voice, I do threaten to take away something meaningful for a set amount of time, but I seriously do not have the patience to be repeating myself to the point where I can’t stand the sound of my own voice. I’ve discovered that a little smack works the first time, as compared to going through aaalllll those other methods with sometimes no results and one angry mother. This is not an indictment on my children, in fact, I think they get their antsy –ness from me. They definitely get their stubborn streak from their father and they most definitely get their volume control button from me. They are so NOISY.  But they are not horrible kids, I just simply cannot tolerate outright disobedience and I deal with it very quickly. Call me a hard task master, call me a bad mother, but I prefer to sort the matter out in the first round;  it puts us all out of the misery of going for ten rounds in the disciplinary ring. Of course, all this is based on the crime in question… I don’t smack willy nilly, that would be wrong, but I have no qualms about smacking you on your bottom in a mall, at your granny’s house, even at CHURCH, if your behaviour calls for it. And it works. For us. For now.

I do not want to humiliate or belittle my children in public, and I most definitely do not want them to think I am Darth Vader in a dress, but without causing a scene and behaving like a fish woman, a quick wap-wap on the bottom almost always keeps them in line. I don’t buy that “the hand that loves you, shouldn’t spank you” or “spanking grows aggressive children” – sorry, that’s twaddle. I know children who do not get smacked and quite honestly they are bloody aggressive BECAUSE they know there are no consequences for their actions.

So while I’m definitely bad cop in our house, I think I am  still the favourite, but maybe it’s just their fear. THAT was a joke. Ha. If disciplining and keeping your children on a tight leash and making them toe the line is considered uncool, then step aside, I’m winning the uncool award this year! But I do believe in the long run, this will benefit us both. There will come a time when I will loosen my dictatorial grip (I’m not that bad, I promise!) but for now, they need to know that what I say, goes, even if they don’t like it (unless you bat your eyelids and do that cute thing that you guys do, and all my resistance crumbles). I think they still love me? I mean judging by the serious love mauling I’m still getting every day from my munchkins, I don’t think they’ve put a hit on me just yet.

The Power of Association

When Hannah was born, I was amazed that she fit my initial pie in the sky idea that babies are supposed to be pink and wrinkled and quiet and angelic. This because, my idyllic ideas were shattered when Liam was born; he was everything a baby was NOT supposed to be. He was born awake, and he stayed awake A LOT. As a newborn, if he napped for 40 minutes at a time, it was cause for celebration. Night times were worse, we couldn’t make an hour without him stirring and yelling for something to eat. He was a boob baby, and a formula supplemented baby, and he ate porridge at 3 months, all in an effort to make him SLEEEP. How he remained a cute, happy little boy on such sleep deprivation is beyond me. We soon realised that Liam was born ready – for EVERYTHING. He started teething at 3 months, walked at 11 months, started baby talking at about 4 months and real talking at about a year and oh my giggling granny, hasn’t stopped since. He is a real rough and tumble boy’s boy, does everything with gusto and dramatics, he is a ball of energy and I think he is destined to be a leader and not a follower. So when Hannah was born, all prim and proper, quiet as a mouse, a four to five hour schedule baby, and slept a full eight hours from about 3 months, we were a bit taken aback. She was a very calm baby, happy to just sit in her pram and watch the world pass her by. She hardly cried, she didn’t require much attention, other than watering and feeding here and there, and she was a total breeze to deal with. I used to say that Liam was blessed enough to get my antsy pantsy genes and Hannah got her Dad’s more laid back kinda genes.

Boy, was that short lived.

I read an interesting blog post, which supports my theory on the Power of Association. “The power of association and surrounding yourself with other successful people is a sure fire way to reach your goals and dreams much faster. The plain and simple truth is that if you are not spending time with other action takers on the same path to bigger things in life, then you hinder your own success.” It goes on to say: “…the outcome of who you are, the goals you achieve, the dreams you accomplish, the destiny you fulfill, all has its roots either as a result of associations you keep or maybe you personally. Let’s look for a good association, because it will determine your accomplishments.”

So now my theory.. since Hannah has been hanging around with her big brother, she has evolved into a little tigress. If I can use a simple example.. she evolved from one of those cute cuddly things in Waybaloo into that pirate chick in Jake and the Neverland Pirates, almost overnight (still cute and cuddly though). It seems even her physical milestones are being reached quicker, as a result of being around Liam. She only cut her first tooth at 10 months, but everything else has come at whirlwind speed.. she walked before her first birthday, she went from a quiet, introverted toddler who really only spoke when she was spoken to, into a word-a-second finger wagging, rule breaking toddler. I stand back and watch how she admires Liam, how she tries to imitate everything he does, how she tries to pronounce words like he does, how she tries these Evil Knievel tricks that get my heart racing. While potty training Liam, we used to let him wee in the garden – something that he hasn’t quite gotten over, even though he is fully potty trained. The other day I found Miss Hannah trying to wee in the garden with her brother, except she couldn’t get out of her press-studded vest so she was kinda leaning hip forward, legs apart, mimicking her brother who was creating a yellow stream across the yard. WHERE was my camera. She wants to be just like him, she wants to eat the same food as he does, and even though I know she doesn’t have an affinity for mushy foods – she won’t even eat mushy breakfast cereal or mashed butternut – if Liam is eating it, she will force herself to swallow it down with a sick look on her face.

I think it’s great that she has a mentor of sorts, that she endeavours to be just like her smart big brother, and I have no doubt that she will learn faster; that her mental and physical capabilities will develop quicker because she spends every waking moment with her mentor. But my concern is that she is also picking up on the not-so-admirable qualities of a strong willed two year old boy.. like the tantrums, the crying just because I feel like it, the naughtiness (and no, I don’t believe that children can’t be naughty). I know this phase will come regardless of who your child is, or who they spend time with, that’s just raising babies for you… but Hannah, at the tender age of 17 months, wags her finger in my face and says no no no no no, when I raise my voice and make big eyes at her to show my disapproval at something she’s done. She looks at me with that just-you-dare-try-it look when I reprimand her for touching something she knows is off limits, and runs away in a fit of giggles when I make as if I am coming to catch her to discipline her. She isn’t afraid of a smack on the fingers because she knows that Liam gets lots of those and he seems fine – she finds it all quite amusing actually. She looks to Liam when Dad raises his voice, to gauge how he reacts, so that she can do the same, because you don’t mess with Dad when he raises his voice, you see. She is a two and a half year old Liam in a 17 month old body – except her English is still pretty sucky.

My idea is to train Liam to be the perfect little well behaved, well mannered boy, so that she will pick up these great qualities from her brother.. but training Liam is like training a yappy little puppy who is just too excitable to listen or learn and just wees his pants when you shout and goes back to chew on that same piece of furniture no matter how many times you tell him not to.. its HARD!

So now that my hopes for a little princess in a pink organza tutu have been dashed, I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that Hannah will most likely be a tom boy, who only wants to wear camouflage and dig in the sand (boy, she loves digging in the sand!). And I’m cool with that, I just hope that Liam will grow out of his Terrible Twos phase quickly so that Hannah at least learns how to be a well behaved little tom boy.

No matter what, my kids are living proof that the Power of Association is real. Who are you associating with, and what does it say about you?

Also from the blog post I mentioned above, a thought provoking article by Gen. Colin Powell, which stirred my heart..

  • Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere, with some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it
  • Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life
  • Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships
  • If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl but, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights
  • The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve
  • Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity
  • An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people
  • As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on; they will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl
  • Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you