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Discipline Is the Hardest Job as a Parent

By Emily |

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.
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About Emily



Emily McClements is passionate about caring for creation while saving money at the same time. She is a blessed wife and mama to three young children, and blogs about her family's journey toward natural and green living on a budget at Live Renewed. Read bio and latest posts → Read Emily's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “Discipline Is the Hardest Job as a Parent

  1. neal says:

    I don’t know if it’s a weakness, but one of the toughest things for us is that my wife and I discipline differently. Not wildly differently, but I give a little more fudge room to my two-year old, and sometimes I let a moment of punishment (time-out) slide if I feel like my daughter is feeling contrite or whatnot. It’s not a HUGE problem, but I do sometimes worry about consistency, because even worse than getting punished a lot is not really knowing WHY you’re getting punished a lot. If my wife and I did discipline exactly the same way, there wouldn’t be any confusion. Add into the mix my mother-in-law, who for instance is much more aggressive with punishing “sass” than she is with hitting, and it gets a bit more muddled.
    I’m not sure there’s a perfect solution for what I’m talking about, and I do think we’re teaching our daughter the lessons she needs, but it’s just not as clean or elegant a process as I wish it was.

  2. Nikki says:

    This is a wonderfully written post and I want to thank you for writing it. I find myself in the same situation you are in. There are days when it seems that everything comes together wonderfully and the result is a calm and happy household. Then there are days when I have said the same thing at least 10 or more times and my patience is wearing thin. Those days are both trying on me as well as my child, since he tends to pick up on any amount of stress or anxiety I have. I have yelled at my son over the most mundane thing and I feel guilty as hell afterwards.
    A tactic I have developed is when I find myself getting to the yelling stage I sit down with my son and I point blank tell him, “Mommy is getting very frustrated because you will not listen and I do not want to yell at you.” I don’t know if it helps him any, but it helps me put everything back into perspective.

  3. Chasm says:

    My baby is only 1 so I can’t talk from experience but I recently saw a blogpost about discipline and in the comments someone recommended the book “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” by Becky Bailey. I looked it up online and it after reading about it I ordered a copy. It sounds great.

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