I Won’t Discipline My Child

Not the way most people mean that anyway.

This past weekend I had an irate parent show up at my door. The outcome was that she forbade her son from playing with mine and screamed at me to “discipline your f@#%ing kid!”

I felt all of the emotions at once; doubt, sadness, anger, embarrassment, hurt, and heartbreak. It was hard to take in the situation without becoming reactive. I did my best. I talked with my son, I cried, I fumed and I called a friend whose parenting style is most like mine.

Once I was calmer, my brain could begin to break down the situation. I questioned my own parenting because of one angry person. But only for a while. What is hard about doing things differently than collective society is that you will be challenged. Ultimately, I’m at the point where I know that’s a good thing!

If my beliefs about how I’m raising my son were done with no more thought than following herd mentality, then maybe I should be swayed. But I’m not. I’m confident, even if that confidence was momentarily shaken, that what I’m doing is what’s best for my family.

The kind of discipline she would have me use requires physical punishments with a belt, grounding my son from play and instilling fear. Her goal is compliance. So no, I won’t “discipline” my son that way.

What I will do is spend time with him, listening to him and speaking to him as an equal. This is how respect and trust are gained, through relationship. If I see him doing something “wrong,” then I’ll talk to him and help him make it right. This is how he’ll learn consequences for his actions. If I see him acting out, I’ll find ways to build him up. This is how he’ll learn to better himself. This. Is. Discipline! Time consuming, thoughtful and often exhausting discipline.

Reflection after shaken faith led me to be even more steadfast in my goal of raising a good person. I have no doubt that he’ll turn out to be a good person. You know why? He already is!.