That's what all the parenting guides (and my husband) keeps telling me. But how hard is it and what if the discipline you've blurted out in the heat off the moment actually punishes you too?!
Well after weeks (no years) of my kids not listening and me crescendoing (...is that a word?) into an almost scream to try and get them to follow simple instructions, I boldly blurted our "right that's it, no tv, laptop, iPhone or iPad for a week, now go and brush your teeth". There I said it, it was out- loud and clear.... What had I done! We got on with the morning, I dropped everyone to school and arrived home to peace and quiet and began to contemplate the week ahead with 4 children and no electronic devices. What have I done (to myself). I had to follow through, if I was to have any credibility with my kids, I just had to follow through !
Fast forward 6 hours and we arrive home from school pick up. The first thing my 5 year old says, “can we watch tv”. The moment of truth (follow through). “No darling, remember no TV, ipad, iphone and laptop for the week”. There I remained strong. Get ready for the tantrums. Wait, no tantrums – they are actually playing outside – wow. OK, first day – not too bad.
We got through the first day pretty much unscathed. But I woke the next day dreading the morning as rightly or wrongly, I have taken to put the TV on in the mornings again to entertain my fourth child who is 4 months old. I find I just don’t have enough time or hands to entertain my little one while getting the other three (aged 3, 5 and 8) ready for school and lunches made.
But... the morning went so smoothly. My four month old was entertained by watching the rest of us get busy with breakfast, dressing and packing bags. The girls all took turns at smiling, singing and clapping with her. The five of us sat down at the table at 7.45am, completely showered, dressed with lunches made and bags packed and by the door. We sat and ate our breakfast together while talking about the day ahead. It was great.
This behaviour continued for the next 3 days of the discipline. Mornings went smoothly, bed time went smoothly. Their manners resurfaced and we actually spoke to each other. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t completely perfect – there were moments of ‘I’m bored” “there’s nothing to do” but they were fleeting.
On Friday evening (when the discipline ended) as promised I let them have the laptop, TV, ipad and iphone back. Within minutes, the attitude and back chat came rocketing back. Wow – I was gob-smacked at how much a difference today’s technology luxuries make to the behaviour of our kids.
Am seriously thinking about introducing the technology ban on a regular basis. I miss my beautiful kids!