I struggle with ways to discipline my son.

This is the one thing I have really struggled with the last two years. (Besides my car troubles the last few months. I mean, something that gets to me emotionally.)

Josh is mostly a good boy, but he has some bad habits and behaviours that make him a difficult child. There are a few things, and last Wednesday they all seemed to come together, along with my anger management which I took years to learn to get right. I’m not sure if I handled it correctly.

The day started off well enough… It was a public holiday and my mother made us waffles with the waffle maker I bought her for Christmas. She made a few, and we had a relaxing day watching some movies I’d downloaded. (King Arthur is excellent, btw.)

Then sometime in the afternoon the behaviour started. Josh wanted cooldrink, and I refused to buy more because he had selfishly finished it alone. But like his mother, he doesn’t take no for an answer. He just keeps right on asking. For two hours he carried on, and I refused. It went right past the point where my parents would have given me a hiding, but I don’t do that.

Eventually he decided to have the last waffle, that had been saved since morning. It wasn’t his waffle. He’d already eaten that. This was my mother’s one. But he didn’t listen and took it anyway.  He covered it in Nutella – way too much, and then came to stand in the doorway and ask for cooldrink again. At this point, I’d just started to play King Arthur, and he’d deliberately gone to the kitchen to prepare his waffle in order to inconvenience me. So I started the movie without him. Then he went into sulking mode, standing in the doorway and mumbling some excuse why he couldn’t watch the movie. (Next thing he would have done is interrupt the movie every five minutes and ask questions, and beg for me to go and buy cooldrink.) When he gets like this, he’s impossible. It signals that he’s about to behave really badly and no matter what I do, it’s going to happen. So I mocked his mumbling excuse for not watching the movie, and my mother joined me. I’m good at that – I can mock anybody. (Yes, I shouldn’t have done that.)

Then he had one of his temper tantrums… He threw the waffle face down on the floor right there, then went into the room and started throwing things, including some of his toys. And I lost my temper. I went after him to the room, and took the one toy he had thrown, it’s called a Yakkity Yak (It’s a soft toy that you speak to and it plays back your voice chipmunk style) and I bought one for him and one for his sister when they visited us last Christmas, and said, “You throw your toys? I can do that too.” I threw it against the wall so hard, it smashed the insides completely. Then I took the waffle he’d thrown on the floor, smeared the Nutella all over his face, and made him sit in the corner like that, with his face covered in chocolate and him bawling his eyes out.

Then I felt bad. It happens every time. It was all over in a few minutes. I helped him wash his face, and we watched the movie with no more asking for more cooldrink. But still I felt like shit. And he kept the Yakkity Yak. He threw the insides away and said now it’s a hand puppet.

I’m not sure why I’m sharing this. I hate that so many people like to make as if everything is always perfect. Our life is most certainly not. We have our problems. Parenting is not always easy and I don’t always know what to do. Overall, it’s good. I love my son and he loves me, but sometimes he’s a right little bastard.


About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
This entry was posted in Family, Parenting, Relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to I struggle with ways to discipline my son.

  1. Bastet says:

    Well Jerome…. You have always had temper outbursts, scary ones at that… I will classify this as one of them. I’ve never been pushed by a kid to smash food in their face. Ever. Period. Kids try their luck, are obnoxious, and test every boundary you can lay down. Your response was… Extreme. Try a naughty corner or to bed with no movie. You are just teaching him that it’s OK to be violent and extreme.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jerome says:

      I have to disagree. He took something that wasn’t his and then threw it on the floor when he couldn’t get his way. Then he did something violent and extreme by throwing stuff all over the room. I wiped it on his face to teach him that there are consequences for wasting, and made him sit in the corner like that for a few minutes. He needs to understand that he can’t behave like that without paying a price, and that the consequences will be much worse with other people than it is with me. If he behaves like that around others, they simply stop playing with him, and then he’ll come lie to me and say that they were being rude.

      Where I was wrong was with mimicking him… it’s an unfortunate talent that I’ve got better at over the years, and mocking his voice/tone was wrong. That was wrong because I bullied him without thinking.

      Edit: Of course also throwing his toy against the wall was wrong. I’m disappointed with myself for that, and it doesn’t help wrt teaching him to value property, something that he has a problem with after being spoiled by his foster mother and her rich parents. It’s a constant struggle to get him to appreciate anything after being spoiled with hundreds of toys by them. I mostly get it right, but this was a fuckup.
      The smearing his face thing was not done in anger – you should remember that my temper can be explosive, but it only lasts a couple of milliseconds…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jerome says:

      I promised to buy him a new toy, and he still likes that toy anyway… Mostly I’m pissed with myself for the mimicking him, because that sets a bad example. He’s already sarcastic and manipulative, and sometimes aggressive with others, and I don’t need to be teaching him how to mimic and get to people by exploiting their weaknesses/vulnerabilities. That was shitty and I need to be more careful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bbnewsab says:

    @Jerome: I agree with Bastet (see above).

    Being a good parent means that you are always there for your child whenever he/she needs to talk, being pepped and/or supported. You, Jerome, are supposed to be Josh’s role model and best friend.

    Testing the boundaries, which all children do sooner or later or rather all the time, must be tolerated by the parents. But not necessarily accepted by them.

    It’s your responsibility, Jerome, as a grown-up person, to show Josh how to show – and solve – solve disagreements and differences in opinion in a fair and good way.

    This time you didn’t do that. Instead you mimicked some of Josh’s own bad behavior. Then you are NOT the role model that Josh needs.

    I recommend that you don’t act like this (the way you desciribed in your blog post) in the future, Jerome.

    Instead Josh should LEARN from you HOW to behave. Tjhs time you didn’t teach him how to behave in a proper way. You “offered” him punishment instead of a Solomonic solution. Punishments are almost always the worst solution to a problem.

    So you should figure out how you want Josh to be “formed” – i.e. what good manners you want him to learn – while growing up. What qualities and personality traits do you want to convey to him?

    When you know that – and have decided what – you want to teach Josh, then show him how to act, how to behave. And reward him with love and even more love whenever he behaves the way you want him to behave. If a punishment is needed, don’t punish him too much. Ten minutes, or so for Josh to stand in the corner doing nothing while you look at a funny video clip, loudly laughing now and then, in the room next door is enough. He will know he misses something funny for being a naughty little boy. He will get the message.

    You must not put too much pressure on him. Putting unreasonable demands on him is just counterproductive. But don’t use the laissez-faire method/attitude either.

    Remember, Jerome, it’s you responsibility, as a parent, to give Josh the tools he needs to help him solve any emerging problems in his life – i.e. give him good social coping skills meaning he can lead a good life later on without you supervising him all the time.

    So inoculate him with good values. Teach him to understand the importance of having respect for both his fellow beings and material goods (teach him that money doesn’t grow on trees and so on). By showing Josh respect, the chances are good that he will show others, you included, respect.

    That’s my advice to you, Jerome.

    Another advice is that you need someone to discuss how to handle questions about bringing up a child. Being a sole parent for a little boy is a very hard work. You need some sort of assistance, a helping hand. Otherwise this will become even more stressful for you when Josh becomes a teenager.

    Don’t feel offended now because of my opinions. You know I like and respect you very much, Jerome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jerome says:

      Thanks. I’m not offended by your or her views… It’s just not always clear what to do.

      Edit: It’s made more difficult because Josh has some strange quirks… he does not respond to removing privileges, for example, but when he knows he has done something wrong, will suggest harsher, overly severe punishments on himself, and impose it on himself. I see this an unhealthy and try to compensate by not allowing him to predict how I will respond when he does something wrong. “Shock therapy” seems to work better, and by that I mean something unexpected to get him to snap out of his behaviour quickly… something that will not cause unnecessary or long duress.

      I don’t like to make him sit in the corner for long, because I don’t believe in imposing punishment that can cause behaviour that works “around” the punishment by deceiving. Treating him the way people generally advise doesn’t seem to work at all, and ends up doing the opposite. I have a feeling that’s why my brother and his ex, who always emphasised to me how corporal punishment is wrong, did actually give him spankings. Her father did too. Being a good example sounds simple enough, but all he does then is only behave well in front of me, and does what he pleases when I am not there, including telling my mother “You’re not supposed to be here” and “There’s nothing you can do to stop me”.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. KTLWB says:

    Its incredibly tough being a parent with a partner let alone doing it on your own. I have three children and two step children (all girls) who have pushed the limits to the extreme. There are going to be times where you will “handle” a situation in a way that you shouldn’t have, EVERYONE does, whether its a physical action or verbal. (yes the Nutella in the face was a little over the top) – but for me as long as you acknowledge to your self and to your son that you handled the matter in the wrong way (which you did) and let your son know that you love him more than anything (but will not tolerate that behaviour), things will be fine. The path of a parent is not a straight line, its about taking detours and learning from the wrong ones, literally learning as you go and adapting “punishment” , and “life” to what will work for your son. Everyone has their own parenting style and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. The hard part is finding the right punishment – which eventually only works for a while and then you have to find something else that will work. You may think that sometimes the punishment he comes up with for himself is harsh, it generally works better than what we can think of. if you feel its too harsh, stick to the punishment but just tone it down a little, ie if he suggests no playing computer games for 3 months, tell him you agree no computer games, but only for one month and visa versa, if you feel its not harsh enough, stick to the punishment but add a little something to make it a little “harder”, – and see how it goes. Putting my kids in a corner never worked, so I made them choose their own punishment, just adapted to what I felt was necessary. As for disrespecting your mom or anyone for that matter – no go zone in my books – maybe you, your son and your mom (only when she is involved), should come up with a suitable punishment together, in that way, he will feel the “embarrassment” of the way he has treated his grandmother whilst sitting with her and deciding on a punishment. I cant say I never gave my kids hidings, but it was very few and far between. I am an incredibly strict mom, some people say too strict, but almost all of them are out the house now and in their own words have told me how they look at some of their friends and where they are in life, makes them grateful for the way in which I have raised them. You can only do your best, and your best will never be anyone else’s “best”. At the end of the day, he knows his daddy loves him and will do anything to love and protect him – that’s what matters.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jerome says:


      I just got a call from my mom now because he is refusing to do his homework, but watching Rick and Morty instead (Yes, I downloaded that and let him watch it.). Also he refused to eat anything earlier, and only had ice cream, that I bought last night, and now he’s hungry.
      Also apparently he is going to break the TV by switching it on and off. (My mother is not rational and it seems only I know how to handle her… Seriously, my father and I learned how to talk to her and not get her into one of her annoying rages, but Josh doesn’t know yet. Also he doesn’t respect her, which doesn’t help either.)

      I sorted that out more or less by telling him to do his homework, and then he can have a sandwich.I won’t see how this works out until I get home.

      My mother is not as much of a help as she could be… sometimes she makes things worse. This is another struggle at the moment. She has nowhere to go so I’m stuck with her. But he refuses to do his homework with her, or he might tell her he only has one thing to do with me – and neglect to mention that one thing is four pages of maths, each of which takes up to 30 minutes. And if I get home at 6PM, and he needs to be in bed by 8:30, I don’t have two hours to help him finish his homework, plus he must eat supper and bath in that time. The homework thing is starting to become a real pain in the arse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jerome says:

      And it turned out fine. My mother can’t seem to handle him though, which is weird after bringing up my brother and I.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Indoctrination can be amusing but is always harmful. — Skeptical Exaddict – kennethandrebrownsr

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s