Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What I know: About Raising a Child with Dicipline

By Jennifer Texada

It is not my intention to brag when I say that I have a great kid, despite the fact that she is a teenager. She is smart, articulate confident and generally well behaved. I am genuinely proud of the young lady that she is. She did not get that way by accident. She has a parent.

I was barley 22 years old and fresh out of undergrad when she burst into my life. It was my intention from the start to make sure despite our circumstances she would not be a statistic, but a success. I did not really know what I was doing, but I did know that I wanted to give her the tools she would need to survive and thrive in this world.

I felt that in order to be a success in this world she needed to be: Confident, respectful, articulate, purposeful, creative, driven, happy, tolerant, loyal and ultimately self-disciplined. I think she is almost there.

There are three things that I can point to that I think have helped us get to where we are today.

For every action there is an equal reaction. Bad behavior has consequences are apparent and diverse. The correction began before she turned two years old. There were spankings, but not just spankings. There was grounding, and time out, and extra chores. She was corrected by Nana, and aunties, and uncles. She was corrected immediately, so that she knew that crime equals punishment. Finally we talked she always knew why she was being corrected and new how to avoid making the same mistake twice. The fact that there are consequences to bad behavior has been a consistent part of her life. My hope is that she will take that lesson with her when she walks out the door to start her adult life.

It has been established that home is a safe place to express your feelings. We talk. I try my best not to cringe or judge or condescend when she needs to talk to me about things that concern her. If she does not agree with a rule she know we can talk about it. If she does something wrong, she knows it is safe to confess. So far she has not felt the need to yell, or scream or disrespect me in efforts to express her feelings. My hope is that no matter what stage she is at in her life she will know that she is not alone, she can always call her mother. It is easier to be confident when you know you have support.

Consistency is key. The rules were put in place at least 12 years ago (she is almost 14 now). We have been following the rules every day since then. When new questions arise we create a new rule and stick to it. There is always room for discussion but it is common knowledge that in mommy's house there are rules. Rules that were created for the safety and success of the children trying to learn how to grow into successful women.

Within it all God, and faith play a big part in our home. She has been encouraged to discover her own relationship with God and faith, and in that she is beginning to find self discipline.

I have one more daughter. I am putting her through the same program. So far, despite the fact that she is much more strong willed, than her sister was at her age, she is beginning to get with the program. Check back in about 7 years , and we will see if this all still rings true and if I really do know anything about raising a disciplined child?

I Think: The End of Discipline as We Know It

The End of Discipline as We Know It
By: Mia Black

As a week goes by and a family drifts further apart, I feel compelled to bring the issue to the table. It all comes down to discipline. That is really the issue that has a family not talking. As an outsider, it puzzles me because it is still being brought up a week later. What is being brought up? My friend’s daughter found her teenage nerve in front of the family last week. Her mother requested to speak to her in the other room. She refused. High volume words were exchanged from both sides of the argument. I was not in the room when this took place, but one story goes: her daughter was snatched up by her neck and slammed against the wall. Another goes: someone attempted to interfere with the whooping that was about to take place and a hand ended up in the throat area, while my friend held her daughter against the wall.

Either way as an adult and mother; I must go by my own accord. I heard a spoiled brat that was scared of being embarrassed in front of her family peers; disrespect her mother in a screaming tirade. Knowing my friend and how she was raised, I was not surprised at all that she snatched her daughter up by whatever she could grab. I was surprised that she did allow her daughter to get in so much before the actual…whatever happened. Again I was not an eyewitness.

But where my actual shock came from was in the story that comes after my friend left. I was summoned to the pity party in the corner by my friend’s sister who's goal was to soothe the poor wounded spirit of my friend’s daughter. I couldn’t believe what was happening. My friend’s mother and sister tried their best to convince me of my friend’s wrongdoing…grabbing, throat, slamming…and a new twist; she also shoved her mother out of the way in the midst of the almost whooping. In the midst of the overwhelming stupidity and hypocrisy of the situation that I was summoned too. I was thinking to myself, why am I explaining discipline to this CHILD? She almost got her butt whooped for mouthing off to her mother. I could not see the wrong in the situation and still can’t. And as I stood, and tried to explain this to the CHILD, she stood in my face and attempted to disrespected me with her attitude. All backed up by Aunty and Nana.

I must now explain why I am saying “almost”. By my friend’s account, her mother stepped in and grabbed her arm/hand while my friend was reaching for her daughter. That is how it ended up in the throat “area”. Point is: No child is allowed to shout and point in their parents face PERIOD! And the hypocrisy of the situation is that her mother had the audacity to stop her from disciplining her daughter. A woman that used to not only whoop my friend’s behind, but would allow for others (Aunties) to do it too. So how can she and her daughter now interrupt the discipline of their granddaughter/niece?

What is so absolutely horrible about this ridiculous fiasco, is that my friend’s daughter got away with yelling, screaming and disrespecting her mother and I. She was given reassurance through the matriarchs in the family that yelling, screaming, and carrying on like a one year old, warrants no consequences.

On the flip side, the relationship between my friend and her daughter is a bit estranged. There could be a lot more effort on my friend’s end to be more involved in her daughter’s life, but point is, there isn’t much you can do 15 years in. I was able to talk to her daughter and find out there was so much more going on than what came out in her moment of fearlessness. But like I told her, no matter what, that is your mother and you need to respect her or suffer the consequences of getting snatched up again. She didn’t hear that message at all, because I was interrupted by the so-called matriarchs who didn’t want to hear her being told that she was wrong. I told my friend’s daughter how much I loved and cared for her, but where I come from, yelling at your mother or father is absolutely unacceptable.

And now over a week later, a family is divided over how that situation was handled. I have spoken to my friend since, and backed her up 100% along with the other family members that have heard the story. Rightfully so, my friend has had it with the meddling of her mother and sister when it comes to her parental duties. Whether or not they speak again, I can’t say, but I am happy that my friend went old school and enforced a punishment that fit the crime. She stood in the face of her CHILD and had she not been interrupted, would have successfully whooped her behind.

*To be followed up with: Raising a Teenager with Discipline. By: Jennifer Texada