Saturday, February 11, 2012

Discipline, Parenting and Other Delicacies, Part 1

There have been posts by Christie and Annie regarding discipline and corporal punishment that I highly recommend. There have also been questions about how we make a famiuly with 14 kids and young adults work, when we are not much older than many of our boys.  We sure must have a prenting philosophy or methodology or something. We must have our set methods for discipline and what not.
Well, we don't really. I mean... my best guidance is thinking of what my parents would have done in any given situation, and do the polar opposite. Because my childhood was that great and their parenting was that wonderful.  Of course the possibility is open that my kids will think the same about my parenting style!
One of the things is that having an adoption and trauma background myself, I use intuition a lot of the times.  I also read all kinds of parenting books (and have tossed both Campbell's and Gordon's books),  and especially read blogs and advice by other parents with more wisdom and experience, and boy, do I get the best ideas from them!
When it comes to discipline, I'm not a fan of corporal punishment. Yes, I've been known to slap the hand of a toddler who was reaching towards the oven, or other things like that before my kids were old enough to understand the dangers, but I think the last time I had to do anything like that was 6 years ago. Definitely long before any of our adopted/foster kids came to us. What I do believe in is grace based parenting. This was something that I always missed in my childhood. My Christian parents were all about grace, except when it came to parenting. Everything had a clear and never changing consequence, and resulting in a cycle of doing something bad, being punished for it, and it reinforcing that I was bad, thus resulting in a why care if I'm already bad attitude... Viscious, viscious circle.
While grace is not such a significant part of my theology as in Christianity--it surely is not emphasised in every second sentence of every sermon--grace is important to my parenting. Religion... not so much. Most of my older kids have been hurt in the name of religion, and they have turned away. Religion based parenting does not work with them. Mention of G-d can make a situation much much worse. So... I work with that. I can kind of relate to that issue.
So what is my grace based approach?
Forgiveness. I forgive, but don't neccessarily forget the offense. Remembering that it happened is not contrary to forgiveness. However, if it's a repeat offense, it can be addressed... the root cause can be found.... the incident resolved. I don't rub their past errors in, and I try to never react with anger. I try, I say, because I'm not perfect. I'm known to yell, to be impatient and moody. I'm not perfect, and neither are my children.  (TBC)

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