What an amazing discipline breakthrough Aviana and I had today. Let me tell you about it.
Naps have always been a struggle at our house. Now she must lie in her bed and rest for two hours. If she does sleep, that’s fine; if she doesn’t, that’s fine too (we just make sure she’s in bed by 7 those days). We both need the break from one another. The rule is she must stay in bed (in case you’re wondering, the pictures were from at the end of nap time, when I was about to let her up–and the ‘gate’ is to keep Brielle out of the room, Aviana can get out.)
When she breaks the rule, she is disobedient. At our house, direct disobedience is deserving of swats. I’ve had to swat her for this a couple of different times.
Today, when I came downstairs (I napped today too) she was up and in the living room. She was disobedient. We had the usual conversation, “You were disobedient, here’s what you did. Were you disobedient?” I think having her own up to her disobedience is important. After she acknowledged her disobedience, she knew what was coming and started the usual tearful, “No swats Mama!” routine. Instead of forging ahead like I usually do, I just held her and comforted her, telling her I love her too much to allow her to be disobedient.
After a few seconds, she regained her self-control and said, “Let’s go ahead and do it!” (Actually, she said “Wet’s doe ahead and do it!”), got off my lap, pulled down her own pants, and laid across my knees!
After we prayed and snuggled, all was well with the world again.
Later that afternoon, she astounded me again. We were talking about an incident that happened earlier in the day, wherein she had obeyed the letter of my command (not speaking to me in a certain way) but not it’s intent (she said the same thing to her grandma). I felt it needed to be addressed that she was still disobedient, even though I didn’t discipline her for it (one of those grey areas…). She knew she was. And for me, that would have been it.
But she looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m weawwy dwad (really glad) you swatted me, Mama.” (referring to the nap time incident, I think)
I asked her why, and she just shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I just am dwad you did.”
The armchair psychoanalyst in me thinks that it’s because children need boundaries so fiercely that it’s a relief to them when they know what they are and where they are, and what will happen to them if they go beyond them.
That was, to me, a little gift from God, saying “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
For more about why I discipline the way I do, there’s a really good article here.