Training vs. Discipline

Scurrying through the dining room to complete a quick 15 minute pick-up session before supper, I turned to my 5-year old daughter for assistance.  “Could you put that brush in the bathroom, please?” 

My request was met with a very nonchalant, “It’s not mine.”

SCREEEEECH!  Somehow those words hit me like fingernails on a chalkboard.  After teaching tweeners for eight years, I do know what that sounds like!  De-cluttering no longer important.  Time for some training.  Let me be the first to admit that my normal reaction would be to give her the evil eye, say “do it” in a not-so-tender-mommy tone and huff on to my other pre-dinner responsibilities.  I don’t know what made me stop this time, but I’m glad I did. 

So began a quick talk about what would happen if mommy only took care of her messes…  how everyone needs to contribute to the family for us to run smoothly… and, of course, the proper response when I ask for her much needed help.  “Yes, mommy” would be an appropriate choice, along with some followthrough.

So we practiced.  Task completed.  No more hairy brush on my dining room table.  “Thank you.  And now I need you to put the doily (currently used as a headress) back on the table where it belongs.”  Before I had put the period at the end of my verbal command, out came the popular excuse  “That’s not where it was…” along with a stunted explanation of exactly where the doily had been discovered. 

Hadn’t I just talked about this?!?  Again, I could have disciplined for disobeying and talking back (and trust me, it’s my go-to method entirely too often), sent her to her room to stew about it, and done it myself… but in another moment of patience and sanity (two in one day!  WOW!) I chose to train my daughter, even as she walked away.

Stop right there.  Come back.  Let’s try this again.

“I need you to put the doily back on the table where it belongs.”

“Yes, mommy.”

Ahhhh, temporary relief for a Mama’s ringing ears and frazzled mind.

Discipline is easy less time consuming in the present, but training will pay off in the future.  It will make my life simpler someday.  Right?  Anyone? 

For more Living Simply Saturdays, visit Keeper of the Home.

9 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this with us! This is definitely helping set my mind off on the right direction this morning! You are definitely right that discipline is faster, but often misses the mark on long term goals. I have been thinking and praying a lot about that lately!

  2. Okay Amy, this post just really hit me. Ya know, I do the disciplining thing way too often and not nearly as much training. I know that the training is the right way too go but you’re right, sometimes it’s not the quickest or easiest route. Sometimes the mom eye and little-louder-than-necessary voice is the quick fix.

    Good for you getting it right twice in once day (and twice in a row no less). I’m really going to work harder on this. Life will be simpler someday if we take the time to do it right now. As Eric always points out to me, I take the time to do things right in the kitchen so that my life is easier, why wouldn’t I do that with the kids too?

  3. Nice job Amy. It is easier to just repeat again the command in a less pleasant tone and then maybe even a “because I said so” thrown in for good measure. But training pays off in the long run. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Yep. You hit it right on the spot. Training is preparation for the years to come. Discipline sometimes (not always), teaches kids how to find ways to not get caught, or how to get by with the least possible, or builds resentment.

  5. Amy, You are on the right track — keep persisting with the training! On the other end of this journey with a 21 year old — the most important thing to teach your child is to respect you. Everything else falls into place. Thankfully, the 21 year old is learning from the consequences of her “adult decisions” and what we learned from her, we applied to our last two children. Stay the course!

  6. I totally agree with you. I’ve done too much for my kids and haven’t taken the time to teach them that” many hands make light work.” Now I’m having to take stock and make changes. I’m tired of the badgering on both ends. I’m tired of threatening and punishing. What I want is a well oiled home where everyone works together so we have more time to have fun together. So I’m taking a “Parenting on Track” class offered by my community school. It’s free for us to take. I’ve only been to one class so far, but it already has made a huge difference. I hope to train more and punish…well, never if possible!

  7. Nice job Mommy!! You’re leading your darling daughter on the right track, despite it’s potholes that you may encounter. Keep going!

  8. This is so true! I find that many times parents discipline and punish their children out of laziness and frustration. It is certainly harder to go through the steps or training your child but in the long run it’s so much easier! After a while the arguments stop altogether. Keep up the good work!

    I’m so glad I found your blog through the giveaway thing. I am putting it in my google reader right away!

  9. Yup, I think you’re right. I tend to want to just discipline or respond not-so-nicely when faced with those moments myself, but when I do stop and take the time to train, it’s always worth it. I think that it really will make a difference in the long run, even if it means we get less checked off of our to-do lists these days. Thank you for that reminder. I needed it today! 🙂

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