Friday 10 February 2012

Sorry seems to be the hardest word...

It's happened.  For the first time we've had to instigate the naughty step.  I've managed to get away without using this for quite a while really.  I've noticed recently though that unlike before, when I've had a word with Ethan about his actions if he's done something naughty, he just hasn't been "getting it".  He'll avoid eye contact, so you know that he knows he's done something wrong.  But he won't say sorry.  Oh no.  That word won't escape his lips.  He used to say it.  Sometimes without true meaning, but he would say it.

Butter wouldn't melt....

I think he's trying to push boundaries to see what he can get away with.  I don't want to be a harsh disciplinarian.. but equally I don't want a completely unruly child.  I prefer the get down to their level and explain why their actions are bad approach.  But what do you do if they look away and ignore you?  You have to get their attention.

This Wednesday Ethan threw a very heavy door stop from upstairs all the way downstairs.  It was an extremely dangerous thing to do.  Not only could it have damaged the walls or something at  the bottom of the stairs, if there had been someone else in the house with us and they had been down there where it landed, they would have been badly hurt.  This thing is heavy!  I had to get through to him how bad it was, but Ethan wouldn't look at me.  So, I thought, this is it!  There has to be some sort of consequence.  I told him that as he  refused to apologise, he would have to sit on the naughty step and explained the concept to him.  I sat him at the bottom of the stairs.  He tried to get up.  I sat him back down.  He asked to watch Cbeebies.  I said no, told him he has to sit there for 3 minutes and think about why he is sitting there.

It was really awkward.. I couldn't really leave the hallway because I knew he'd get straight back up, so I had to stay there, trying not to look at him whilst keeping my eye on him.  When his 3 minutes was up, I went over and sat next to him.  I asked if he was ready to say sorry.  He still wouldn't say it.  I asked if he would give me a hug as a half way and he happily did so.  I'm not sure if this was a cop out.  I'm new to all this!

Later on in the afternoon, I could hear Ethan playing with his toys.  He was saying to them "No! No!  Don't throw anything that is heavy! It's dangerous! Don't do it!".  Hmmmm, I thought.  Something must have gone in then.

At tea time, he was chattering away when suddenly he looked at me and said "Sorry Mummy.  I sorry".

Bless him.  My heart melted.

I hate this aspect of parenting.  I suppose most of us do.  The cuddles, the playing.. that's the fun stuff.  Trying to make sure you don't raise a total A Hole.  That's the tough bit!

What are your tips for discipline?  How does it work in your household.  Did you use a trial and error method to find out what works?  Any tips... I'd be glad!


  1. It's a hard one, isn't it? I don't think for one minute you'll raise an a-hole, though :-)

    We try to use gentle, positive discipline - lots of modelling appropriate behviour, and acknowledgement/valiation of feelings. We don't use physical discipline at all, but neither do we do naughty step or time outs. The trouble is, it can look to the outside world like permissive and lazy parenting, and because it's not the usual way of doing things round these parts, gets some quizzical looks and tutting. I find it hard work, partly because it's so different from the way I was raised, and some reactions seem so automatic, it's hard to stand back and think before saying or doing something. But hopefully it will mean that Clover "behaves" because she wants to, and can see the positive benefits of doing so, rather than out of fear of any punishment or consequences. xx

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  3. Rory does the same after being told off - he'll have a think about what he's done and then apologise when he's in the middle of something about 2 hours later. Although if he's done something naughty cushion-worthy (which in this household is any form of violence towards anyone, throwing things after a warning not to or very rude behaviour) I insist that he apologises before he comes of the cushion. That's because I know that he is as stubborn as I am and he would see being allowed to get off before apologising as a victory. We have such a battle of wills - thank goodness he's only very rarely naughty!

  4. Thanks Lise & Sarah. You both have very similar aproaches to me I feel, so it's good to hear from you both. I'm sure this is a normal stage Ethan is going through, testing and pushing boundries.. it's to be expected really as he's starting to understand he's his own person, a separte entity to me.

    Lise, it's interesting to know Rory does the delayed apology as well. I quite like that actually, because you know they've been thinking about it. A bit like sleeping on something that's troubling you. Your subconcious is working on it.

    Sarah, I don't want Ethan to feel he has to do something because of concequences either, but because he wants to. It is so hard if it's not the way you were brought up though.. It's hard to stay calm sometimes as well. Especially if you are in a rush/under stress.

    This parenting lark is so hard!

    Sorry for terrible spelling.. I'm on my parents laptop which doesn't seem to have spell check set up!


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