I believe discipline to be almost as controversial as politics. Do I dare post some thoughts on this matter? My blog will lie rather silent without some expression here. I haven't had much else on my mind lately.

I will begin with a real-life example and then move into theory.

A lover of the great outdoors, Peter will easily be enticed outside on journeys to the pond, playground, or just to walk around the neighborhood. Usually we let him decide on a destination. First mistake? Obviously, he is in his glory and has no concept of time constraints. When mommy [or daddy] decide it is time to go home, we usually pick him up (piggy-back style or on the hip) and start toward home.

Now, he walked all the way to the park and is perfectly capable of walking back as well. But he doesn't want to. His submissiveness is usually directly related to his hungriness/tiredness. He will kick and wiggle, trying to get down and when put on the ground, will turn a quick 180 and head straight in the opposite direction of home.

We haven't mastered the hand-holding trick (otherwise known as 'heel') and he pays no attention to quick swats and redirection, administered repeatedly (5-6 times, or until said parent loses patience and carries the unfortunate child all the way home).

Now, I must say that daddy has scored more points here than mommy. He ranks higher in creative methods of punishment and usually wins compliance by making a game out of coming home or giving Peter a fast, fun ride. Mommy's excuse is that she really wants Peter to learn to obey. But there seem to be more than one means to that end.

Kay Kuzma promotes the idea of 'strong, gentle parents'. She says when parents establish, maintain and enforce limits, then children will 'feel secure enough and respect their parents enough to be willing to obey'. She differentiates between Requests, Requirements and Commands. Commands usually alienate and cause defiance. These children feel controlled and obey out of fear, not respect. She promotes avoidance of conflict, or distractions that divert a child's attention.

She also uses the example of a string -- saying "Because children, like strings, resist being pushed, learn to lead, motivate, influence, persuade, and negotiate." She promotes using advance warning, giving choices, meeting emotional needs, making reasonable requests and being consistent. She says not to push a child to comply immediately unless absolutely necessary.

She recommends the use of time-out, but says it is best used when choosing one behavior to modify and focusing on that one thing for the day. Spanking is a last resort for Kay Kuzma, who says 'there is probably another more creative method of discipline that would have been just as effective'.

Ok, I know this is getting long...are you still with me?? Maybe I'll finish my thoughts in another post.