I don't like the Mommy Wars. Have you ever fought in one? They aren't fun and ultimately they are not productive. They are fought over many, many issues: breast verses bottle feeding, cloth verses disposable diapers, family bed verses allowing the baby to cry themselves to sleep, home school verses private school verses public school, strict discipline verses more lenient verses the kids discipline themselves, stay at home moms verses those who work outside the home. These wars are fought when each of us feels that our's is the right way and everyone else is doing it wrong :-)
I didn't breast feed my daughters past the first month, they've slept with me over the years (whenever they needed to), I used disposable diapers, I send them to private school and I'm considered a strict disciplinarian. So, do you think I'm a bad mom? Did I do something you didn't and wouldn't do? Are you sitting in judgment of my choices? Were you thinking, "Why in the world wouldn't she breastfeed longer, doesn't she know that breast milk is the best food for a baby?"
Do you know why I made the choices I did? Why am I a strict disciplinarian? Why do I allow my kids to sleep with me? Why do I send them to private school? Why didn't I homeschool? What was my reasoning behind these choices? Was it sound? How would you know? So, how can you judge?
Those who've fought in the Mommy Wars know that they have made a judgment about the actions of another and probably without a clear understanding of why they made that decision. I know that I've done so. I've looked at how others have disciplined their children and have thought that they should be stricter but I'm not the mom of these kids and I'm trying to learn to keep my mouth shut. And especially since I'm on the receiving end of this particular war as well.
I'm strict but fair and I'm not sure others see that. I think I'm viewed as oppressive and it's almost like people think my kids are afraid of me. I discipline my children because I want to teach them self-discipline. I want them to learn to control themselves and a way to do that is to teach them to respect my authority and to obey it. One of my fears is that I will raise children who were as disrespectful and as disobedient as I was. I was sassy (shocking, huh?) and I talked back and I refused to do the things that my parents wanted me to do. I was so unhappy and didn't feel loved and I didn't realize that I was my own worst enemy. I discipline my girls from this knowledge. I don't want them ever to feel like wishing they were dead almost every day of their lives.
So, this leads me to discipline for the two areas that I think are the foundational problem areas for teenagers: disrespect and disobedience, everything else flows from that. Nothing will receive greater punishment in our house than that and not only disrespect of our authority but of each other and others as well. Punishment is usually a loss of privileges, no TV for one and no Internet for the other (each has her own love and I know what it is). Sometimes if I think that I've made my point, I show grace instead of judgment. One of them lost her privileges for two days but I've been thinking that I'll only make it one since I know that she feels bad for being disobedient. That's what I'm looking for -- a contrite heart. I don't want to punish her, I want her to respect me and know why I tell her to do the things she does.
See, I have a reason. I'm not an ogre. Maybe you don't see the need to be strict, that's OK, you don't have to, God didn't give you Sarah and Samantha, He gave them to me (thank you, God). And btw, I don't want to slander my daughters, I don't have to discipline them that much. We are showered with much love and respect. We are blessed and we know it :-) They understand why I do what I do because I've explained it to them and they are in agreement with it. They get this:
Proverbs 10:8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.Each of us has been given our child for a reason. Each of us has what the Lord wants that child to have and the Lord will mold them the way He wants using their experience in our family, both the good and the bad.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 13:1 A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
I've learned my lesson, I have no idea how you should raise your child, only you know that. I can tell you what works for me but you'll have to keep in mind that YMMV.
So, this is my white flag of surrender. To all those I've fought in the past, I'm sorry. The war is over and I don't want to fight any more. I've become a conscientious objector and I won't return to battle no matter what the temptation. Just call me Switzerland :-)
BTW, I didn't have anyone in mind when I wrote this, it isn't a sneak attack, veiled as a surrender. It's not a Trojan horse :-) It's a cease-fire, this blog is a no battle zone.