Posted by: Paul | March 5, 2010

Disciple of Discipline

I find myself completely unable to discipline my son. It’s not that I don’t try – just that nothing I try works.

He’s never done anything really bad – just things that fall into the annoying / inconvenient category, or are behaviours we want to nip in the bud wherever possible. For instance, he will sometimes throw toys or books on the floor intentionally. Not something to get massively upset over, just something to be discouraged. If I tell him to pick something up, he throws something else on the floor. I then give him a telling off and he just laughs at me (I’ve had this happen with adults, there’s clearly something I’m doing wrong here!) And him laughing generally defuses the situation and I’m not annoyed with him anymore, but the behaviour will continue another time. If I take it further, and stay annoyed after he laughs, and do something like put him in the naughty chair, he bounds off and runs away, cackling like Daddy’s playing some kind of elaborate game with different levels, and he’s now at level three.

Next I take him up to his room. But that’s no good because there are toys and books galore up there. If I remove some of his favourites to the point at which he’ll play with nothing else, he’ll amuse himself by stomping around in a circle singing quietly, as if playing himself in a musical of his own early life.

To be fair, he’s a very resourceful child. I’m not sure whether to shake my head in admiration of his ability to always find something else to do, or get even more annoyed about the fact that I can’t get through to him that what he originally did half an hour ago that we’ve both now forgotten about was unnacceptable.

The principal problem at the moment is that on the two days that I look after him, he will not take the post-lunch nap that he and I so desperately need. I put him upstairs and settle him down, and by the time I’m at the bottom of the stairs he’s up and trashing his room. I go back up a couple of times to insist that he has a sleep, and each time he complies at first, and then ignores me.

Is it time to give up on the nap? Should I just bite the bullet? I know he still needs one though – the minute I finish this blog, give in and go upstairs to get him and go shopping, I know as soon as we get in the car to go to Tesco he will be fast asleep. Typical! If you’re a parent you will know how unutterably infuriating that feeling is!

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