Discipline in the family is never an easy topic to talk about, especially when setting the rules or enforcing them. And it seems that every family has a different approach to implementing these rules. This was the main topic that we discussed in the Cast of Dads Podcast #12 titled “Discipline“. One thing that we all did have in agreement was that parents who don’t enforce any rules and let their kids run the household, will eventually fail in the long run. A lot of this has to do with ensuring that you command respect and understand the concept of authority therein.
It also seems to depend on the rule that needs to be enforced, the child and the severity of the offending action. In my household, for example, my wife has the commanding authority over all of us (yes, sometimes I’m considered the “oldest kid” in the family) for the most part. She puts the rules into effect, follows them religiously and expects compliance across the board. I tend to be a bit more easy-going, but, and this is important when dealing with children, I fully support her decisions of punishment or rules when they are applied. That being said, there are definitely situations where we both play good cop/bad cop, but those have to be treated carefully so as to not undermine the authority of the other parent or, worst case, confuse the child.
And, since I’m typically the one who is a bit more “playful” and joking (for better or for worse), when I get angry or am forced to punish or discipline, it is typically when there was something done that was very, very wrong. It is a two edged sword though. You have to be careful, in my opinion, not to be your child’s friend. You are first and foremost their parent, the one they look for guidance, education, nurturing, love and help. If you consistently try to put yourself at a “friend” level, you dilute your authority and command and your children learn quickly to manipulate you. It’s a tricky balancing act. Yes, you can have fun with your kids, that is very important! You cannot simply be a hard-nosed parent that only enforces and does nothing else. Your kids will lose respect for you with that method as well and will simply go behind your back or ignore you.
How can you balance the fun with the business though? The best bet is to simply be consistent. It’s important for children to have regularity and consistency in their interaction with their parents. If you change directions too much or too frequently, they will become confused, uncertain and insecure, which in the long run, is not good for their development. I don’t have a golden set of rules though as it is a very personal subject. You just need to define the rules, follow them, enforce them when necessary and maintain a happy, healthy and communicative relationship with your kids.
How do the other Cast of Dads feel? Well, in Episode #12 titled “Discipline” we discuss this and a variety of other related topics including what caused my kids to write the following notes to my wife and I:
The topics we covered are:
- Who is the softy in the house?
- Who is the enforcer?
- When siblings begin helping with the parenting
- Teaching to respect adults balanced with not trusting strangers
- Friends known as “aunts” & “uncles”
- Naughty Steps, Dunce Caps and time out
- Losing control and raised voices
- Extreme discipline
- To Spank or not to Spank?
If you have questions or ideas for topics that you would like us to cover (remember, between all of us we have 13 children ranging from newborns to young adults), just send us an email to [email protected] or tweet us at @CastofDads! Also, our podcast listener base is growing! If you are interested in sponsoring our podcast for an episode or a month, be sure to contact us!
Cast of Dads is a group of podcasting and blogging dads who gather to gab about fatherhood. The cast of dads includes C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, who collectively represent 13 kids from the youngest of babies to full grown adults. Each of them brings a unique perspective to being a father.
HTD says: I would love to know how you discipline your children! What works and what doesn’t?