Help! I need to Discipline my Child!

Picture the scene: we are at my son’s first birthday party and I am holding Bean on my hip while talking to my cousin and his girlfriend, T. T reaches out for a slice of pizza and my son literally launches himself at her trying to grab the pizza out of her hand. In an attempt not to drop him and calm him down, I tell her that he wants the piece, take it from her and give it to Bean. The result: my son is now happily eating ‘his’ slice and T is staring at us with a very quizzical look on her face. Later on in the day,  once the chaos of the party has subsided and I have time to reflect on the day, I realise, that I, in an unguarded moment, indulged my son’s ill-mannered behaviour instead of using that moment to teach him something. I am absolutely mortified and I realise that Bean is no longer a baby who just needs to be fed and loved, he is growing up into a little boy and I now need to start teaching him discipline and manners.

Because, let’s face it, nobody likes an unruly and ill-mannered child.

This realisation has me perplexed – when do I discipline and when do I teach? In the scene pictured above, he was not being naughty, he simply wanted to experiment, learn something new. He wanted to see what T was eating as he had never seen a slice of pizza before. He did however need to learn that it is not ok to simply snatch. So that night, after talking to my mom and husband, we decided to teach him how to ask for things he wants instead of simply snatching.

What if he continues to snatch? Then we would need to enforce discipline right? But it is here where it gets really complicated. There is so much literature available on this and so many different opinions on which are the best ways to discipline and enforce boundaries that it has all become like a white noise in my head. There are those people who believe in physical punishment, those who believe in ‘time-outs’ and then there are those who believe in gentle parenting. A granny I met in one of the classes I take Bean to, mentioned to me that I should simply ignore naughty behaviour.

After reading all these articles and speaking to various moms and grannies about this topic I realised that there are certain core ideas on how to create a stable and peaceful home environment in which the need to enforce discipline is minimised:

Every child needs love, attention and devotion

A lack of attention often leads to negative behaviour in a misguided attempt to get the parents’ attention.

Children are like sponges

They are continuously learning and taking in what is shown and taught to them. You can therefore talk to your child and show them what it is you are trying to teach.

Be an example

To our children, we are the world. We show them in our daily behaviour and interactions how one should act. In the scene described above, I inadvertently showed Bean that it was ok to snatch without first asking. I have also found myself simply taking something I do not want him to play with, out of his hand without asking him for it first. I cannot expect him to ask me for something if I (as his mentor) simply grab things from him.

Children need boundaries

This is something that I come across in parenting blogs and articles as well as books, a lot. Without boundaries children feel lost.

Be consistent

Parents need to set boundaries together and consistently enforce these, together.

Even in a stable home environment filled with love, children will still push their boundaries and they will be naughty, because, well, they are children.Some form of discipline is then needed because there isn’t a point to a boundary if it is not enforced.

I take Bean to Clamber Club classes and in his graduation class last week, the teacher said something which really hit home. Children under five cannot form their own opinions of themselves and they therefore internalise the parents’ opinions during these formative years. Once they turn five, they form their own opinions using what you, as the parent, have taught them as a reference framework. This reminded me of a story my sister once told me: they had gone to a flea market one Saturday morning and there was a family of four walking ahead of them. One of the children, a little boy, was pushing a trolley suitcase in front of him (instead of pulling it) and the suitcase kept getting stuck on the uneven bricks. The mother ignored this for a while and then suddenly smacked the child on the back of his head and shouted, “you need to pull it, stupid!” This, to me, is such a powerful example of what the teacher said, as by the time this child will be able to form an opinion of himself, he will automatically include the description ‘stupid’.

As parents we need to realise that we form these little beings, whether by example, through what we teach, or how we discipline – we give them a reference framework which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. They will use this framework, which we have instilled within them, to decide on important life choices (whether to go to university or not for example), or when they decide on how to act, which body language to use, how to express themselves when they are faced with a moral dilemma or when they meet new friends, a girlfriend, a boyfriend or even a prospective employer.

This to me is the crux when deciding on how to teach a lesson and on how to enforce discipline. How do I want my children to see themselves?

 

Photo credit:  www.canva.com

Travelling with a Baby

My beautiful sister is turning 30 and to celebrate this momentous occasion, we have decided to go on a mini holiday together, (yay, our first beach holiday with Bean) and seeing as we are only going for a couple of days, we have decided to fly instead of drive. Flying of course means that we are limited in terms of luggage and so I have decided to set up a list of tips to consider when packing lightly as well as a list of essentials to pack to make travelling with a baby a little easier.

5 TIPS FOR TRAVELLING LIGHTLY:

  1. Make sure the accommodation has a camp cot and book a car seat when renting the car. This saves a lot of space.
  2. Find out whether the accommodation has a washing machine and if yes, pack lightly – you can do washing there. My son is teething at the moment and we are replacing his bib hourly so although we are on holiday, we will end up having to wash his bibs every day anyway – we might as well wash one or two of our own items as well. If there is no washing machine, find a laundromat close by, having your washing done in hotels is often very expensive.
  3. Find out which shops are located near your accommodation (google maps is amazing) and based on this, pack only what cannot be bought at your holiday destination. We will pack enough nappies for two days and we will have enough bottles, formula, food and snacks with us to last 24 hours but I plan on buying the rest when we arrive. This means that we do not have to worry about finding space to fit bulky and heavy items like a bag of nappies or a tin of formula.
  4. Find out where the nearest Hospital is. If, as in our case, it is fairly close to your accommodation, make up a small first aid kit with sample sizes of each medicine you might need instead of packing up your entire medicine cabinet. This ensures that you have something on hand if necessary and in case of an emergency you are close enough to the hospital.
  5. Buy small travel containers for your toiletries (Dischem has nice ones here) and decant what you need into these. Toiletries weigh a lot.

5 ESSENTIALS TO PACK:

1. Good quality nappy sacks.

Seeing as logistically it is very difficult to pack your entire nappy bin into your suitcase (I have thought about it, believe me), make sure you pack something portable to contain those nappy smells. For me, the Angel Care On-the-Go works the best.

2. Stick blender, storage containers and spoons.

I prefer cooking for Bean instead of buying the ready-made meal pouches / jars. So, although we are on holiday, that is exactly what I plan on doing. Instead of cooking for him separately though, I plan on cooking sensibly (so that we can all eat the same food) and just puréeing his portion. I use the Kenwood Triblade and I have packed in these Snookums storage containers. They are lightweight and practical as I can serve his food out of these as well (saves me having to pack extra bowls).

Foods like Mango, Papaya, Banana, Avocado etc do not even need to be cooked and for the times that we are out and about, Woolworths has a freshly made baby food range with realistic expiry dates called Woolies Babes Fresh which I will buy once we arrive at our destination. I have also bought some Squish fruit puree pouches.

3. Portable Feeding Chair.

Here, there are two options: a clip-on feeding chair from Chelino, or a Feeding Chair Travel Pouch, like this one from Tom & Bella.

4. Toys

Over the last couple of weeks, I have packed away some of his favourite (small and lightweight) toys so that by the time we go on holiday he is not bored with the toys he has. I also kept some toys hidden which he got for Christmas for this and I will make sure to have some packed in my hand luggage to provide entertainment while travelling. Prevent packing the entire toy box by opting for toys which can be used in more ways than one. Stacking cups for example can be built into a tower, used in the bath or when packed into each other, the baby can learn to take them out one by one and put them back. These types of toys are also often compact and lightweight.

A good idea is to plan some fun activities ahead (read here), especially for bad weather days, and to pack accordingly.

5. Microwave Steam Steriliser Bags.

I use the Dr Browns Bags, they are so convenient, re-usable (up to 20 times per bag) and value for money. They are also packed in a small, compact little cardboard box ideal for travelling. Just ensure that your accommodation has a microwave readily available.

Do not forget sun protection and a hat. The effect of the sun on our skin is no joke and seeing as babies’ skin is especially sensitive, this is very important. I have opted for a wide brimmed hat, some spray-on sun protection and a UV protected swim suit.

The most important thing to remember when going in holiday is to relax and enjoy! And don’t stress if you have forgotten to pack something – there is bound to be a shop wherever you go.

Photo Credit: http://www.canva.com