Temira, age seven, recently said, “Imma, some of my friends think you and Abba are very strict but I don’t think so. I think it helps us be well-behaved and then we get to do other things other kids don’t.”
Intrigued, I asked her to explain which “other things” she was referring to. She went on to give me various examples of how we take them to restaurants, take them out really late and travel a lot. She is correct. We have never had to say we cannot go to a restaurant with the kids or decline a shabbat dinner invite because of a late Shabbat. Our kids have sophisticated palates and like “adult food” and we can treat them to adult places. We never negotiate over homework or helping with housework. These things are non events in our home.
A few months ago we were staying at a friends’ home whose kids are challenging at times. The mom said that I treat my kids like a sergeant major. We discussed how in her home she is not a sergeant major but she is always shouting and fighting with her kids. In our house, we draw a line with expectations and we live a calm existence.
I shared with my friend two ideas that I have learned from mentors Slovie Wolff and Laurie Palatnick. One is we have zero tolerance for gutsper. Our kids are not allowed to say NO but they are allowed to say, “Is it possible if…”. They are given space to be their own people, and have control but in a respectful way.
Most importantly, we see discipline like a bank account. You can withdraw discipline as long as you deposit lots of love.
Metroimmas, please share your discipline stories and advice here…
Originally published: September 12, 2011