November 23, 2011 8:28 AM Subscribe
I need advice on how to raise disciplined, well-behaved children. Lengthy details within.
posted by zarq to human relations (47 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
My kids (girl/boy twins) spent their first three and a half years being taken care of during business hours on weekdays by a wonderful nanny, and by my wife and I at all other times. In September we let go of our nanny and put them in a local preschool program. They're learning by leaps and bounds, soaking up knowledge like little sponges, and we know we made the right decision there.
The problem is, they're now developing discipline problems. Hitting and kicking each other and others. Being defiant. Refusing to share. Throwing tantrums. We'd like to try to nip all of this in the bud early before they worsen.
They come home from school and it's the same litany day after day: "Eric pulled my hair. Jasmine kicked me. Tiffany pushed me." The teachers say our kids never instigate and that they keep a close eye to prevent incidents. We're teaching them to stand their ground and yell, "NO" but at the same time it seems obvious they're picking up bad behaviors from their classmates.
What's frustrating about this is they're generally sweet kids. They're affectionate and loving. Kind and considerate. They get along with each other pretty well. They did none of this before they were put in school, with the possible exception of infrequently refusing to share with each other. But that was rarely much of an issue.
We talk to them and make them understand when they do something wrong. We give timeouts. We raise our voices. (I feel like all I do is yell lately and honestly, I can't stand it. But it does seem to work in the moment.) We threaten to take toys away. We make them apologize to each other. But is there no other way to instil discipline in a three year old than giving them punishments?
But we don't spank our kids. They haven't seemed to need it. I'm resistant to corporal punishment because I grew up in an abusive home and my sense is it doesn't work. But at this point I'm really wondering if I'm wrong about it. I worry that once you open the door to spankings, you're setting up a negative environment which isn't reversible. And I also worry that spankings are either a type of abuse, or a short road to it.
I'd like to ask y'all how you raised your kids to be well-adjusted, relatively obedient and disciplined. I'm not looking for my kids to become mindless automatons. But I want them to stay polite and not betoo defiant. I want them to know their parents are in charge. (When mommy says "no" that means "no.") I'd also like to teach them to not resort to beating the crap out of each other if they're not getting their way.
I realize there are a lot of different schools of thought regarding disciplining one's children. We'd really like to know what worked for you and what didn't, so we can try and draw our own conclusions and figure out what might work for us. Please feel free to speak your minds. Thanks in advance.