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Changing Discipline as Children Grow

Updated on October 13, 2017
sholland10 profile image

Susan is the last of 8 children, has raised 2 children, and has spent 26 years teaching high school kids. She grew up with a strong mother.

Awww... Sweet Babies

When my son was born, it was absolute heaven. I loved holding him, feeding him, changing him, talking to him, and just loving him to pieces. Same with my daughter. She was like a little doll that I could dress up any way I wanted with frilly dresses and big bows. Beautiful.


Not a Good Little Kid Mom

I was a great baby mommy then it changed. They started to grow into toddlers and questioning everything. I loved watching them grow and seeing their curiosity pouring out of them, but I found it so hard to come down to their level. What I did not realize is that they just wanted a short, sweet answer that was simple. I would try to explain. They would look at me like I was an alien. “Okay, let me put it like this…” Finally, it was like my toddlers were comforting and patronizing me, “It’s okay, Mommy.” Then they would run off and play. I would feel frustrated. I had these wonderful little children who seemed to be helping me more than I was helping them. Not what I wanted on my “Mommy resume.”


Yay, They Have Grown

Finally, they hit 10 – 11 years old, and they are pre-teens. Their senses of humor were being developed, they were learning things about the world, and they loved to discuss what they learned. I had always loved my kids beyond anything in this world and would have died for them, but now I could communicate with them. I felt so much better about my parenting.

From pre-teen to teen years, my kids and I were able to joke around with each other, and they would “get it.” I no longer had to be so careful about what I said to them, fearing I would hurt their feelings. As teenagers, they could be as sarcastic as I was, or they could act silly in a way that was meant to be humorous, not annoying.

Of course, I have never been the parent who wanted to be friends first while putting my responsibility as a parent on the backburner. No, I was still the disciplinarian mom who had to be the “bad guy” sometimes. As a child grows and matures, you have to evolve with the type of discipline you use according to your child’s age because discipline should change from toddler to young child, to pre-teen, and to teen years. For example, I believed in spanking or swatting the bottom. One day my 11-year-old pre-teen son came in and was not in the best mood because he couldn’t get his bicycle chain to go back on its track. He was passing through the kitchen when I told him he needed to clean his room. He shouted, “I’ll get to it when I get to it. I’m busy right now.” Whoa, Buddy, hold on there with the disrespectful tone...


Making Adjustments

I saw red and went over to him, took him by the arm and swatted his bottom. I told him he would not talk to me that way and would drop the attitude. You have to get this picture in your head. My 11-year-old son was an inch taller than I am and I swatted him. He was trying so hard to be respectful. He put his head down, and I told him to look at me. When he did, I could see he was about to burst out laughing. I had to laugh, too, because the swatting situation was so ridiculous. He was not laughing at the reason why I was disciplining him nor at me for telling him to show respect. He was just laughing because when I swatted him, it felt like a fly had landed on him. After our fits of laughter, we did have a talk about respect and attitude. We talked about how when we have a bad day or situation that we cannot take it out on others. He got it! I wasn’t explaining anything he did not already understand. Actually, it was a discussion, not an explanation. And I saw that my type of discipline had to change with this adolescent/young adult.


Connection

Talking to my kids on their level is so much better for me than trying to explain something to a toddler. I love the relationship I have with my teenage kids and how we can talk about “almost” anything. There are times I have to tell them, “TMI!” (Too Much Information).

My son and I still joke about that swat. He is 25 now, and it is a great childhood memory for both of us. He learned the lesson I was trying to teach with the discipline, and I learned that I had to adjust my ways with my children as they grew. It is one learning experience after another, but I must confess I loved being a teenager's mom because we could connect.


Remember When…

Many people do not like the teenage years. All the rebellion, the “spreading of wings,” the quick wit, the sarcasm – these are things I can relate to with my kids. I remember having the same feelings. Mixing my memories of experience with dealing with my own teenagers helps put things into perspective. It also bonds me to my children more and more. When you feel at wit's end, try to think back to your own teen years and how you felt. We may never get completely into our kids’ heads, but we can meet them part of the way and make our place in their hearts. Teenagers are great!


© 2011 Susan Holland

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    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Jon, as a high school teacher and mother to a son, I have found that boys are much more easy-going. They love to do "guy things" with the men in their lives. You are going to really enjoy having them around. I am glad you are so close to them. :-)

      Thanks for dropping by!

    • jonmcclusk profile image

      Jonathan McCloskey 

      6 years ago from Cinnaminson, New Jersey

      This was a very interesting Hub, I have three nephews that I treat like my own kids. They're not teenagers yet but when they do become teenagers I'm going to remember this hub on my days to watch them.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Jacy,

      I am very happy you read my "oldie." LOL It really is fun to be around teens. They can be kind of sassy, but that's okay because so can I. LOL Teen years are tough for child and parent. If we can remember as parents that we were once that teen, I think it makes a world of difference.

      Thanks for dropping by! I appreciate the vote!! :-)

    • albertsj profile image

      jacy albertson 

      6 years ago from Lake Mary, Fl

      Oh, this one is cool. While I don't agree with hitting kids, I still liked, how you swatted him on the rear, obviously still thinking, in your subconscious that he was a young child, and how you both broke up laughuing. But what I really loved was how, you were able to then see what's great about having teens. And appreciate them. (Something many battle with) I know this is an oldie... but I'm a newbie & just now reading. Voted up

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Kelly, I love the teen years. :-) They are so much fun, even through their moods. LOL

      Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • profile image

      kelleyward 

      6 years ago

      It's refreshing to hear a positive comment from a mom of a teen. Thanks for keeping it positive!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks, Tammy! Raising kids is tough work. I did like it so much better when I could talk to them and know they understood. We had the normal teen "attitude" problems, but we were also able to joke around and to say things to each other with understanding (some good, some bad).

      Thanks for dropping by and reading. :-)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Well done! I have found raising 3 boys to be bittersweet. The early teen years were rough but now that they are 18, 19, and 20.. we have a different kind of relationship. This age is great because they actually choose to spend time with you and want advice. I agree with your sentiments and I wouldn't change anything about them.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks for the kind words, Ray. You and I know first hand what it means to have a good relationship with parents. My kids are fortunate to have both parents who care about them; something you and I missed out on. I can't imagine your sister not wanting you to advise her children unless you are stuffing them with candy and spoiling them, which I cannot see. Truth bothers some people. I hope she has a good relationship with her kids. I know I want my kids to have common sense and a sense of responsibility. I want them to know you have to work for what you get in life and they are entitled to nothing unless they have earned it. It takes patience and perseverance to stand one's ground with a child, and I think that is where parents cave. I am thankful that I had an older mother with old fashion child rearing techniques. She taught me a lot. The generation of "I want my children to have better than I did" is paying for that now with their adult children either living at home or expecting them to pay their way and fight their battles in life.

      Thanks for dropping by, reading, and voting! I appreciate it. :-)

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 

      6 years ago from USA or America

      A very cool hub Susan. I'm glad to hear you have an excellent relationship with your kids. In today's society it is too important to not have that type of relationship because parenting is something that should have a positive impact on their learning and understanding. I'm not a parent at all and I have been told plenty of times that I wouldn't make a good parent. I've also been told by the my sister that since I am not a parent, I shouldn't be giving advice to her children. I told her that IF her children came to me with questions which I felt comfortable discussing with them, then I would do so. She wasn't too thrilled to say the least. But, then again, you would have to understand the relationship between my sister and myself- it's not a good thing. I'll leave it at that. Voted up! :)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hi Lyricwriter, I do love my kids. They are now 25 and 18. My 18 year old daughter does give me my run for my money more than her brother did, but I still prefer this time to when I felt like I was failing them by not being able to come down to their level. I think what you said about how we thought we knew everything at that time is so true. I remember that and if one of my kids is not on track to making a monumental mistake, I let them go ahead with their plans and sit back and wait. Sometimes it turns out okay, sometimes it doesn't. Now, there have been times that I have stepped in and said, "Listen, I know you don't think I know what I am talking about, but I did the same thing and it didn't work out." Sometimes it is that easy, sometimes it is not. No matter what the age, parenting is wonderful and hard at the same time. Thanks for all your kind words and for dropping by!! :-)

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      7 years ago from West Virginia

      Hello Sholland. Well written and it sounds like your a wonderful mother. I bet you have your hands full! :) I believe it is how they are raised. Kids will try things, get in trouble, and other things. I believe when you are there to advise when it happens, it makes the difference. We all made mistakes as kids, they will also. When we can teach them by our mistakes, they are less likely to do it. At that age, you know everything. Well, I thought I did. Boy, I didn't have a clue. Well said.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks so much for your kind words. It is REALLY hard to take care of kids. I have a boy and a girl. Each child is different but when I get frustrated, I try to remember what it was like when I was that age. That doesn't mean I don't get angry or am not absolutely befuddled some days, but it really helps me understand. Also, understanding isn't always accompanied with approval. LOL Take care, and thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • KidsPartyFavors profile image

      KidsPartyFavors 

      7 years ago

      You are my inspiration, it is really hard to take care of kids. I have two boys and their teenagers now, I get headache sometimes, but its fulfilling!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks, Charlu! I really appreciate the ups and the linking. I am glad you liked it. Thanks for dropping by!! :-)

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Absolutely awesome hub. Your making the connection, willingness and insight to need to change disciplines is commended. Voted all the ups and linked to it from one of my hubs I am looking forward to reading more Thanks for sharing

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      I wasn't a teenage mom. I just barely missed it, though. I was 20 when I had my son. Children change our lives, and I am so glad they came along. :-) Having teenagers is so much fun when I take a step back and remember being one. :-) Not that there aren't times that I am hitting my head on the wall wondering what I need to do. LOL Good outweighs the bad.

    • wedmed profile image

      wedmed 

      7 years ago from US

      I think that teenage mom is never ready to be a mother.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hi Philpott,

      I think the "Why? Why? Why?" is what almost did me in with my two when they were little. I loved that they wanted to learn and understand, but I just felt ill-equipped to give an answer they could understand. Overall, though, cherish EVERY moment. My best time as a mom was when my kids were older, but I would not trade a second of ANY part of their childhood. It truly does fly by. :-) Thanks for dropping by!

    • Philpott Online profile image

      Philpott Online 

      7 years ago

      My kids are in that toddler stage and asking questions no stop. I'm glad to hear the short sweet answers are the way to go. Although, I've found the answer "just because" doesn't fly. They want to know why.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      LOVED this hub and rated it up and awesome/funny. OK-your turn to read Mothers Day Madness and we can compare our mother's resumes, LOL

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      MoChi, you are so good to me!! Thank you for reading! I am glad your hubby is reading too!! I appreciate you so much!

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 

      7 years ago

      Excellent...loved the part about the little kid mom and the mommy resume! So did my hubby. :-) Keep it up!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hey Hennie! Another way to look at it is "time flies." Teenagers either love that time of their life or they hate it. It is a tumultuous time for both teen and parent. During the tough times, I had to transport myself back to when I was their age. My daughter is 18 and it seems she comes up with something new everyday that makes me worry. Then I think, I would be doing the exact same things. I still tell her things like, "I don't approve," or "I don't like it." It makes her a little bit more aware of what she is doing. It wasn't until my kids turned 18 and graduated that I "lightened up." Keep the guidelines, but always look for the good that you have instilled in them. It pays off when they go off on their own. :-) Good luck with your 9 year old!!! It is just starting to get interesting and fun in my opinion. :-)

    • HennieN profile image

      HennieN 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      My oldest is only 9, but your hub made me look forward to the teens. The most important for me was the fact that you have been there for your kids to build the wonderful relationship you have. I am also work hard on getting that established.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks, Neil!! They are a lot of fun, and now that they are grown (18 and 25), there is an established GOOD relationship. They keep me young. :-) Most importantly, they have turned into great people! Sorry, I get a little carried away. I'm the dreaded mom who has the pictures. LOL

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Cool --- I agree 118% .... I loved parenting through the teenage years too.... so true "All the rebellion, the “spreading of wings,” the quick wit, the sarcasm – these are things I can relate to with my kids. I remember having the same feelings. Mixing my memories of experience with dealing with my own teenagers helps put things into perspective."

      rated up and awesome

      Great hub

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