Monday, March 30, 2009

The Fine Lines We Walk

Everyday, I walk the fine line. All of us do. Mothers, wives, girlfriends, friends, daughters,.. heck, virtually everyone walks the line. The line between good discipline and being too strict, between looking attractive to your spouse and dressing too young for your age, "choosing your battles" and being a doormat, wanting and enjoying your partner's company, but not being too needy, being honest but not dismissive to others' feelings, being smart but not a nerd, being a good worker and not a brown-noser, and the list goes on and on....

Some of these things I feel I can manage easily. Others, I sense a constant struggle and try to balance, walking ever so slowly along the fine line. Discipline is one of them.

Nicholas is a wild child. He is very sweet, but is rambunctious and unaware of the ramifications of his actions. He is just at the age that he is growing more aware of how his actions affect others, and what actions are then appropriate and which are not. It is nice to think he is reaching that level of cognition, but also difficult for him, my husband and I. For instance, Jacob has just turned two. He is completely unaware of the cause and effects of his actions. He only knows a few things, i.e. do not touch the stove or you get burned, do not put your soapy hand in your mouth or you have to eat the soap and gag.

Nicholas, however, is getting smart. He is very aware of many many things and in turn is expected to know when his action is appropriate or not. I think Nick feels these expectations are unfair because we do not have the same expectations of his brother; but, that is life, and that will not change until Jacob gets older. What Nick obviously does not know is that if he had an older brother, less expectations would be placed on him than those on his older brother. With time, he will grow to understand, but for now, it is difficult.

So, my husband and I (as other parents) walk the fine line with our children- trying to lead them in the right direction with methods that are age-appropriate and with a level of discipline that is not overbearing or mean. Trust me, I get mad at my children often, but running around screaming like a wild woman never helps. It just further escalates the stress of the situation. So, I just have to concentrate on not getting mad so that my emotions are not running the show. If I do not keep this in check, I could scare the children, constantly screaming and could make them afraid. I have to somehow show them that being imperfect is OK, but still continue to correct their actions when appropriate.

I feel the same about being too strict. If you are too strict, fear is what you instill in your children, not respect and not better actions. Children are children, they mess up, they do the wrong things or say the wrong things at the wrong times, but they continue to look to us for guidance. The best guidance is leading by example with a firm, constant, dependable hand.

The statement seems so simple, but the follow-through is not. It is an ever-lasting, never-ending, long row to hoe.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

First of all, your children are beautiful. I totally can relate to your post. My twins are getting older and their behavior is not so cute and innocent anymore. We have resorted to some heavier discipline because their actions render it. I think that you are constantly learning, going through trial and error with your first born, which helps with dealing with your other children when they reach those same stages. You are actually an experienced parent once you get to your second born, third born, etc. I look forward to following your blog. Please visit us at