Discipline and Gardening??

I've been thinking about obedience a lot lately -- it's actually been consuming my thoughts almost entirely. I really want to put my best foot forward in this business of raising children.

Another training method can be found in the book/website called 'Raising Godly Tomatoes'. I'm not finished exploring these ideas, but here's what I've come up with so far:

The author of the book (I'll call her the Tomato Lady) says the most important thing in parenting is to keep your children close -- "Tomato Staking". Disobedience is to be immediately corrected and the child is to then repeat the action, but in the proper manner. She says the most important thing to teach a child is to obey -- that it is their duty to obey their parents. Once this is established, the need for discipline will 'virtually disappear'. The training process will be hard, but worth it in the long run.
As far as tantrums go, any conflict over anything can and likely will turn into a tantrum if you suddenly begin insisting your untrained child obey you. That's GREAT! That's WONDERFUL! These other things are usually just small battles, whereas a tantrum is closer to a full-scale war. Would you rather win a few little battles or the whole war? Look forward to the tantrums and other major displays of stubbornness and willfulness, as opportunities to win a whole war. If you win a few tantrum wars (and you must), the little skirmishes will just disappear, and so will the tantrums.
She recommends a firm voice, calm and pleasant without yelling. Consistency is very important, usually requiring a parent stay to supervise and outlast until 'the message gets across'. Don't overlook anything you should be correcting. She wants parents to guard their childrens' trust, praise them often, and show your approval of them as individuals.

She supports swats on the bottom and says you must repeat your instructions with a swat for disobedience until they obey willingly. You must outlast them! She lists things a toddler should be able to do (or working towards!):
- Understand that tantrums are absolutely forbidden.
- Come without hesitation when you call him.
- Stay near you when you tell him to.
- Hold your hand upon request, without pulling or letting go.
- Say or indicate, "Yes, mom", when you ask him to do something.
- Perform your requests without whining, crying, or pouting.
- Not misbehave in the car or in public.
- Remain quiet when you tell him to, or when you hold a finger up to your lips.
- Sit quietly next to you for as long as you want him to, without being bribed or entertained.
- Remain seated at the table until given permission to leave.

So my reaction to all this is -- I will be experimenting to see what works with my child. I want him to feel loved, respected, safe, and valued, but also confidently know where the boundaries are and aware that he isn't controlling his parents. I hope I'll be able to come up with some strategies that work before I lose all the color in my hair...