Monday, September 6, 2010
So I have two dilemma's here. Both have nothing to do with having a special needs child, except that maybe I am confronted with these situations on a more regular basis than other mothers. First, how do you stay motivated to discipline your child when you feel like you are really punishing yourself?
I have been given so much advice, as I am sure most mothers are, on the "how tos" and "what withs" of discipline. But rarely have I been given advice on how to survive said "how tos" and "what withs". "Take away his favorite toy", "Take away the Tv, video games, bicycle, ......", "Put him in time out, on his bed, in his room.....". Unfortunately all I hear is "Take away something that will keep him occupied", "Take away your peaceful productive time", "Stand behind him in time out, by his bed, outside of his room". Now I admit no one ever said disciplining is easy, but what if your child doesn't learn after three or four times. What if this becomes your whole day, week, life? I am sounding mellow dramatic I admit. But after yesterday and realizing that I am spending most of my life saying "Don't, Stop, Come back here, Don't smile at me when I am punishing you, Go to your Room, Put your nose on the wall,......", I can't help but think I must either, A. be doing something wrong, or B. I just haven't got something right. Advice is always welcome! (This doesn't even delve into all of the reward systems that we have set up and then watched fail miserably!)
My second Dilemma has to do with my youngest child. How do you discipline a child who thinks it's all a game? Micah is so incredibly different than Isaac which, from what I can tell is exactly how it is supposed to be. Who knew two kids with the exact same diagnosis, same parents, and same fondness for trains, could be so different to discipline. I remember my father talking about how it was night and day disciplining my sister and me. I thought "well of course, I was obviously better!" The easy answer to that is no, I just had easier motivators/reinforcements than my sister did.
Micah is a breed of his own. Trying to figure out what is going to motivate him enough each day is like solving the Sunday paper's crossword puzzle. Half the time he laughs at me when I try to sternly reprimand him. Which leads me to get more angry (who wants to be laughed at while you are trying to impart right and wrong?) It all devolves to one big crying, spanking mess very quickly. Can you figure out which one of us cries first?
I think this is a common mom thing. You don't have to have any specific type of child to feel the pressures of teaching your child right from wrong. But when you spend most of the day trying not to throw a bigger tantrum than your child, disciplining with love and logic seems like something that might be possible on Mars. So, great and wonderfully wise mothers out there..... How do you do it? What are your tricks? What keeps you sane and can you sell it to me?