Discipline is something I am really struggling with at the moment. Everybody seems so black and white in their approach. Spanking or no spanking, but I am just confused. I normally am “quite” headstrong (for the people who know me I am laughing with you) but when it comes to raising Elijah, my most important job to date, I just do not know where I stand. And boy, are there so many books and information out there on this very subject. I find it so hard to know what Darrell and I would have done as a family. Elijah was only seven and a half months old when`Darrell tragically died, so he definitely did not need any form of discipline. We were still in the “gosh, do we really have a baby and what do we do with it stage” We never had the conversation on what our stance as a family was on discipline. Darrell was most definitely the calm presence in our small family unit, while my French blood can come rearing up in times of stress. My in-laws and mother and step father have opposite thoughts on discipline a child and my lovely dad ,who was not one to shy away from strict punishment when he was bringing up three wildly, wicked female teenagers is the one most against me even raising my voice to Elijah, let alone a small hiding on the nappy area.
Elijah is two and a half now and really testing all the boundaries open to him. Some things I know are not malicious, such as the removing a full, family sized tin of Milo from the cupboard to make a sandcastle on the kitchen floor. I actually thought that was a good way of thinking out the box and getting to do one of his favorite activities whilst Cape Town was in the midst of her worst storm in 50 years. The cleaning up of the beautiful sand castle was not so much fun though.
I find time-out is not something I tend to do when Elijah has been exceptionally bad. He is still so small and wants to be with his mama, that punishment seems incredibly cruel to me. Maybe though it is more my separation anxiety for him that I do not like putting him in a room and letting him cry. My heart just breaks.
Elijah has had two very naughty incidents recently where he has bitten his friend Olly from www.onemodernmon.wordpress.com. Granted both times he was over tired and the next day a nasty virus had appeared (in no way related to biting Olly!) Both were situations where we as parents should have intervened before it got to the bite stage, as we could see them arguing, but I was always of the thought to just let them fight it out as that is real life. Well obviously that is incorrect when it comes to two-year olds and they do not have the verbal capacity to stop the fight and it quickly escalated. As a mother of a child that had bitten a friends child I was mortified. How could my sweet, darling, curly blonde haired boy have done this! The guilt of watching another little boy crying and in pain, inflicted by your child, the child you are trying to bring up to be a perfect, non aggressive man. That is when Darrell would really come in handy. If only he could let me know what he would do in these types of situations. Lisa handled both situations like a star and as much as I felt like the worst mother on earth ,she was not at all stressed and told me these things happen. But they must not happen again in this house. Who wants to be known as the mama of the little boy who bites everyone! A very trusted friend told me that when her daughter developed an unacceptable habit she put a dot of Tabasco sauce on her then toddler’s tongue and it never happened again. This seem the less cruel of punishment forms to me but then what if your child has a bad allergic reaction to it?
A few weeks later my beautiful little God daughter came to spend the day with us with her parents. It was Darrell’s birthday and they so kindly brought all sorts of cakes for us all to quietly celebrate Darrell’s life. After a long day of the two of them playing like only two toddler inebriated kids can play, the little darling girl reached over and gave Elijah a huge bite on his cheek. We were stunned. She is most definitely not an aggressive child and there was no tension in the air before hand. Elijah was screaming and sobbing and the little girls parents were just sitting there watching this scenario in shock. I could feel the embarrassment enveloping their whole bodies. It took Elijah a while to calm down and they took the little girl and put her on their laps and tried to tell her never to do that again. I was not angry with them at all and tried to make as little out of it as possible all the while trying to calm Elijah down back to his previous happy mood. I am actually quite glad that incident happened. I got to reassure the parents that this is normal and Elijah got to feel how very sore a bit is. Hopefully he has learnt that biting is not acceptable. He has however been proudly going around showing and telling everyone about his “love” bite.
I would love for all you mama’s and papa’s to give me some tips and advice in raising a good moral citizen, I am feeling at this moment that I am not quite enough for a growing strong-willed boy and questioning my every action. Solo parenting is so hard, especially when the other parent is also just not at the end of a telephone to discus your parenting style and stance. Until then I shall be caring my teeny, tiny bottle of Tobacco sauce around with me wherever we go.
Lots of love