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Discipline Is the Hardest Job as a Parent

Discipline is a word that has been on my mind a lot recently. And specifically as it relates to disciplining my toddler son who just turned 3 last month. It’s also been a hot topic around the blogosphere lately.

We have been experiencing some really difficult behavior with our son recently, and it is pushing me to my limits as a mama. I think it’s just so hard because there really are no rules for parenting (well, besides not abusing your child physically or emotionally, of course). There is not one hard and fast solution that works for every kid in every situation every time. Heck, even something that worked with my son yesterday might have absolutely no effect on him today.

My biggest weakness when it comes to discipline is yelling. What makes it extra difficult, at least for me, is that as hard as I try to use positive parenting and discipline, there are times when everything I have tried has not worked, and I end up getting frustrated, losing my cool, yelling, and being the exact kind of parent that I don’t want to be.

And then I get so mad and disappointed in myself afterward that I acted that way toward my child. He doesn’t deserve that from me.

I often wonder what my son is thinking about in those moments. The times when I’m very obviously mad, and upset, and yelling, and frustrated. What is running through his head?

When I think about what he must think of me, and of himself, because of the way I am acting towards him, it brings tears to my eyes. Because I never want to make my child feel those things I suspect that he’s feeling. Confusion. Shame. Guilt. Fear. Ugh! It just hurts my heart so much.

I don’t want to be that kind of parent. I don’t want to react to my child in a way that makes him feel unsure about himself and unsure about our relationship. I know that I need to work on this, and that I need to learn different parenting strategies to help myself when I feel that I’m starting to reach that breaking point. Strategies and tools that will help me parent in the way that I want to, and to be the kind of parent that my son needs me to be.

I am learning and growing as a parent each and every day. This is the absolute hardest job in the world: raising these little people in a loving and graceful way, yet providing the structure and limits that they need to thrive, and grow, and mature.

And I fail at it often. Often enough that it sometimes makes me doubt my ability as a parent. I’m so thankful that my children are so forgiving and so loving, despite my inadequacies.

But I want to continue to work at it, to learn what it means for me to be a better parent. Because my kids want and deserve for me to be the best mom I can be. 

That doesn’t mean I have to be perfect, because of course we all know that no one is perfect. But, it does mean that I am trying, and working, and not giving up on myself. Like I said, this discipline thing is hard stuff, I’m hoping to share what I’m learning as I embark on this journey to work on my weaknesses and strengthen my strengths.

What is your biggest weakness when it comes to disciplining your child? Have you found a way to overcome it?

Emily writes about green and natural living at Live Renewed.
Follow Emily on Facebook and Twitter for updates!

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