Monday, February 6, 2012

Disciplining Cade

One of the hardest things about being a parent (to me) is that there is no clear wrong or right way to go about raising your child.  (Okay, I can think of more than a few definite "wrong" things to do, but you get what I mean.) 

In general, I am not a big discipliner.  I don't let Cade give me crap, but I'm pretty lax with the whole discipline thing.  Brandon is more the Eenie Meanie Parent, and he's better at actually punishing Cade when Cade does something he shouldn't do.  In other words, Cade is much more "afraid" of Dad than Mom.  He knows that I'm a softie, and usually he plays that to his advantage.  It's just...I know how sensitive he is.  Because I was too as a kid, and so I guess I take it easy on him because I feel bad that he has some wicked bad anxiety and because I seem to think that I can some how rationally talk to a FIVE YEAR OLD about what he did wrong, and about how he should avoid it in the future, etc.  Doesn't usually work, but somehow, I keep trying to do this.

But tonight.

Tonight Cade had an indoor soccer game.  Before we left for the game, he was playing the Xbox.  It was kind of hard to get him to turn it off to leave, but he eventually did it and everything was okay and we went to the game.  Cade was practicing with his teammates before the game started, and someone on his team stole the ball away from him.  And that, somehow, must have done Cade in, because right then and there he started crying and threw himself down on the bench and proclaimed to us that he wasn't going to play.  I didn't press anything, just let him kind of be sad for a minute, and I hoped he'd get up on his own volition and join his teammates to play.  He didn't.  He kept insisting that he didn't want to play, that he wanted to go home and play Xbox.  Brandon and I patiently told him (at least at first) that he needed to play his game, and then he could go home and play Xbox.  He dug his stubborn little heels in and said resolutely that he wouldn't play, that he didn't want to.  Well, by now the game had started.  He was still upset and crying and wanting to go home.  We told him that if we did indeed have to go home because he wouldn't play, then he wouldn't be playing the Xbox or Wii at all that night, because if he wasn't going to play soccer, then there were going to be consequences.  He didn't care, and wouldn't go in, even after his coach asked him twice to sub in.

Meanwhile, Brandon and I are both pretty mortified that our kid is having a crying meltdown in front of all the other parents.  Everyone was staring.  I didn't know what to do, and I'll admit I was pretty mad at Cade.  He had been making such good progress with soccer, and it's like all at once he was suddenly regressing and going back to his old ways of being "too scared" and "too tired" and "too bored" to play.  I didn't understand where all this was coming from, but I was getting tired of seeing Cade cry and seeing everyone stare and probably judge us.

So Brandon and I were done.  We told Cade that he had made his decision, and that we were leaving, and that as a result, he couldn't play Xbox or Wii.  We picked up the kids and headed to the car while every damn person in the place stared.  When we got to the car, and started to drive home, I think he figured out that we were serious, and were making good on the consequences we had told him would happen.  He said he was ready to go back and play, but we told him it was too late.   We told him we hoped he'd make the right decision next week.

So here I sit, typing this, while Cade cries and whines that he's bored and wants to play Xbox.  Here I sit with a kid who's really upset.  Here I sit, wondering if we did the right thing. 

But I honestly didn't know what else to do.  Some people may say we were too hard on him to actually leave the game, I don't know.  But parenting is tricky, and it sucks that kids don't come with instruction manuals.  So, mostly, here I sit, wishing I knew really what to do, how to better raise my child.

11 comments:

Laur said...

You did absolutely the right thing. You have to stick with the consequenses, even when it's hard! He has to know for sure that you mean what you say and say what you mean.

Telstaar said...

I think you guys did the right thing. You gave him a chance to change his mind and he didnt until he realised you were serious. If you'd gone back on what you said then he would only learn that he can push boundaries too far and get away with it if he renegs on his behaviour at some stage. Whereas now, he learns that he needs to do the right thing straight away or there will be consequences. You're not stopping loving him or anything like that, just teaching that when he makes a committment he needs to follow through, even if crap things (ie having the ball taken from him) happens. Still I understand that its difficult when he's crying and complaining continually. I also think a 5yo is starting to learn right from wrong and so appealing to that side IS reasonable for you to do! *hugs and prayers*

alriggells said...

I think you made the right decision. Even if you "didn't" you followed through and that shows your child consistency and that you are going to hold boundaries which in turn makes them feel safe. I can imagine how hard it is to discipline. You are a wonderful mother.

Erin said...

Obviously I'm not a parent, but I think what you guys did was absolutely the right thing. Like, 100% correct.

Sharee said...

You don't need a manual:) You did the right thing! Once you tell your child what will happen you have to follow through. Props to you! I hate when we as parents, I am guilty too, make a threat and don't follow through. You showed him you meant it and now he will know he has consquences. Everyone was probably thinking; been there, done that. because every kid has done that. They probably admired you guys as well for not yelling and following through with your consquence.

Penny said...

How I wish I had had access to blogs in my day of raising kids. I would have had so many questions. Still do actually. I think both you and Big B are pretty cool parents. Its the best and the hardest of times...

brie said...

thanks all for you support and validation and insight. means a lot to know you care. as cade as getting older, parenting is getting harder!

hardlycreative said...

i think the most important thing that happened is that you followed through on what you said you were going to do. whether or not you see yourself as a stern parent it is important to let him know that you are the boss and you mean business when you tell him something. he doesn't need to be scared of you to listen to you and you not letting him play xbox when he got home let him know that you were serious. good parenting, you are doing great. don't be hard on yourself.

t. said...

Sounds like you guys made a good call. I've had to haul my kiddo out of places, tucked under my arm like an uncooperative sack of potatoes. It was mortifying, but it was the right thing to do. Parenting is tough. *hugs*

Åsa said...

I think 100% of all the other parents have been in the same situation. If they stared, they were probably just thinking "oh that was just like our kid lat week" or whatever. I think you did the right thing. I hate when parents keep giving into things, those kids turn out unbearable. Stay strong! He will get over it!

karlielsa said...

I think you did the right thing for sure. Being a parent is difficult for sure, it's one of the hardest things I have ever done. You have to stick to your guns. Cade now knows you are serious and he will learn next time. It will take time but it will come, at least that's what everybody tells me. I am so happy that you didn't give into letting him play Xbox. Maybe playing a little soccer and playing Xbox is better than having a meltdown and getting nothing. He will learn in time and realize that on his own.