Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Back in 1994 when we were studying child psych at med school, it all seemed so simple.

Children need firm and consistent discipline. That's the secret to happy, well-adjusted kids.

Simple, right? Right??

Firm I can do. Hell, I've done surgical training, I can be as complete an arsehole as you would ever hope to find.

It's the consistent I have a problem with.

When you're young you imagine when you are grown-up, you will have an innate ability to be 'grown up' and responsible, because, well, that's what happens when you grow up. You get to drive a car, spend the money, and be calm and rational at all times.

Yeah. Not so easy.

I didn't ever consider that I would still be grumpy, moody, tired (make that exhausted), hung-over, rushed, time-pressed, angry, sad or any of the other PMS dwarves when I grew up and had children (mind you, I thought I'd be married to my med school crush and have three children and a career before the millennium was out, too).

So sometimes I'm firm and calm. Other times, I cave in and do things I never thought I would (sugar in a bowl? with a spoon? sure. Now just let me finish updating my logbook and this presentation for work). I worry that Patrick is just a wee bit... bratty.

Right now, when I am supposed to be packing (not blogging, note- i haven't had my coffee aaaand Ollie woke up three times for feeds last night so i had plenty of thinking time and I want to get it down before it evaporates like those other brilliant blog posts that I haven't had timetowriteincludingthatbrilliantoneaboutfamiliesandloveand... and... and...) Patrick is wandering up and down the hallway yelling out "Daaaaddeee, D-AAAAd-eeee, I need more bottle! Need more BOT-TLE!! And I'm awfully, awfully tempted to cave in, just so we can do all we need to do (eh-hem) without too much interruption.

My psych said i could reduce the stress in my life by not sweating the small stuff. That's great, but where does not sweating the small stuff (please put your undies back on, no eating on the couch, no computer before breakfast is over, don't snatch (toys from Ollie) become complete slackness- the couch is a mess, what is a few more stains?

This has come to a head because we are spending Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law in coastal Victoria, and her kids just came out of the womb happy, quiet and scream-free. Seriously. I've been there when she tells my neice (who is all of 11 weeks older than Patrick) not to do something... and she does it. No argument! Oh. My. Godness. I fear I will spend the week being embarrassed by the naughtiness of Patrick and her 3 calm, cool and disciplined kids, and end up feeling worse than ever.

How do you all do it? On a scale of 1-10 for consistency, where do you fall? I'd give myself.... well, maybe a 5.9. Which barely seems like a pass. How consistent do you need to be? 8? 9? 10? (fuggit, no-one's that good, are they? are they?)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

where do i rate with consistency? oh..6, maybe 7?

and then there's the consistency rating between the two parents? are we both consistent with our expectations? i don't think so... do we give the kid mixed messages? all the time. did i just give the kid a cup of milk to drink quietly in her bed even though we don't let her take her milk to bed, so that i could get back to finish this comment? yes i did.

17/12/09 01:38  
Blogger E, SS and the Little Man said...

I don't know why but the one thing I am is consistent. I don't know any other way to be. That was one reason I was a kickass special ed. teacher. Kids with behavior disorders etc. really need consistency, or they'll walk all over you.

My SS is another story. Completely. She was also a kickass special ed. teacher, but for some reason that did not carry over with her own child. She is such a cream puff when it comes to him. She will give him anything. He's the love of her life, and she can't bear to see him cry, be uncomfortable, etc.

Mind you, I have had conversations with her about how well-adjusted kids come from discipline and consistency. SHe knows she has gotten a tad better at being stern with him. Baby steps.

That being said. I'm definitely not perfect. I yell entirely too much at him. I get so effing tired of him fighting me every step of the day, all day long, that it drives me to yelling.

17/12/09 21:16  
Anonymous minnie said...

I think I'm of the consistently permissive variety or parent. Eat or don't eat, whichever. eat or don't at at teh table, little table, stool, running around or the couch. whatever. pants? or no pants? whatever.
Last week Jack had cookies for dinner pretty much every night.
oh man, I sound horrible....

I hope your vacation is going well!

20/12/09 11:34  

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