Disciplinarian vs Nurturer: can the two co-exist?

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

Disciplinarian vs Nurturer: can the two co-exist?

Postby Angelight » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:49 pm

As a SAHM, the amt of time I spend with my child is 24/7. Naturally, I'm the teacher, nurturer as well as discipline master. But sometimes I find it emotionally conflicting to be both a nurturer and disciplinarian.

A nurturer can enjoy the child more becos he/she usually does not do the disciplining. In other word, he/she is usually the 'good guy'. On the contrary, the disciplinarian plays the 'bad guy' role and is usually the one who reprimands and sometimes canes the child.

I find it emotionally draining that I am ALWAYS the one who discipline my child. My hubby is at work all day and even when he is home in the night and on weekends, he seldom disciplines our child. He sometimes even turns a deaf ear or a blind eye when DD is misbehaving or refuses to eat her meals. So I always end up being the 'bad guy' and disciplining DD, which i resent cos I want to enjoy my child too. But if I don't discipline her, no one would as I don't have help from parents or in-laws. I don't want DD to become a spoilt brat if there is no one to keep her in hand.

But playing both roles of a disciplinarian and nurturer is taking a toll on me, emotionally. What makes things worse is that whenever I discipline DD when the in-laws are around, they would interfere and play the 'good guys', causing me to fall out of favour with my child. :(
It's easy for them to make empty comments like "don't be too hard/strict with the child" cos they don't face her 24/7. They only play with her occasionally and never have to take care of her.

Feeling kindda down now cos sick and tired of always playing the 'bad guy' and falling favour with DD whenever I discipline her...very emotionally draining for me. Hope some kind souls can shed some light for me. Thanks.

Angelight
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Postby cnimed » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:13 am

I don't see them as two separate roles, but part and parcel of parenting. I think all parents have to do both at some point, and usually parents tend to balance each other out. So if dad is very strict, mum will usually be more lax. If mum is very strict, dad will be more indulgent. There was one stage when dh was very strict, but when I became much stricter with ds1, I noticed he suddenly became very relaxed! There is generally a balancing effect within the whole family.

Most of our discipline issues at home concern sibling rivalry, but I think you only have one right? :) One is easy!

On my own, I do reflect on my discipline style, and my boundaries, both of which have evolved with the children's changing personalities and stages in their lives. I do share my thoughts on discipline with my children. I do tell them if I change my mind. I do apologise if I feel I have made a bad judgement call. Having said that, I do also make them stand in the corner, do time-out, withdraw priviledges and use the cane.

I do state my rules clearly, and I share with them newspaper articles of teenagers that get into trouble with the law. I tell them it's also the parents' fault for not teaching the children the rules properly, so it is my job to teach them properly. Joking works too, depending on the child's age and personality. For my younger one, a plea from his teddy bear works better.

It is also useful to consider what are the common sources of conflict. Is it over toys, meal times, rudeness, hitting etc? Consider how you can improve the situation preemptively, or by changing other things. For example toys - do you need to reduce the number of toys, or create more storage space that is easy for the child to manage? Rudeness - rephrase requests or words in a neutral tone and get the child to repeat in a matter of fact manner. When the child subsequently use the improved wording, immediately reinforce through praising - "that's the way!""how nice to hear you say it!" etc. For older child, a deadpan voice may work better.
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Postby tamarind » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:55 pm

deminc wrote:I don't see them as two separate roles, but part and parcel of parenting.


I totally agree.

I scold and punish my kids, but I never cane them. That is why I find it very easy to nurture and discipline them at the same time. I think some parents who cane their kids may find it emotionally conflicting. There are many ways to discipline kids without the need to cause pain.

One of the best way to discipline kids, is to show them what is good behaviour. Both my kids now know that they will not get anything when they threw tantrums. Since 4 years old, my older girl already knew how to teach her younger brother : "There is no use crying".

I also believe that kids should be allowed to behave as kids. As long as they are not destroying things, they do not hurt themselves or each other, I allow them to do whatever they want. I set boundaries for them, and they know that there is no way that they can cross those boundaries.

I also use removal of privileges, and make them write the same sentence many times to reflect on what they have done wrong. When my boy was younger, I used the timed-out method which worked. I know many parents tried the timed-out method and claimed it didn't work for their kids, but perhaps they should be more persistent.

All the above methods can be implemented in a very cool and calm manner. These methods may not have immediate effects, but they do have very good long term effects. Caning will stop the child from mis-behaving immediately, but she may not remember the lesson.

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Postby jnj0910 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:16 pm

my 20mth girl is a "destroyer"! it is in kids' nature to play n destroy things, but i try to alter our home environment by putting"destroyable things" out of her reach :P

i do use the cane, but only occasionally when she deliberately tests disobeys and is obviously testing boundaries.

and she remembers it very well and does not repeat it.

parents feel the conflict cos most forget that disciplining is part of "loving" children, da shi teng, ma shi ai. But children must be shown that love in action, so what i do is after the caning, i will explain again to her why she was caned, and give her a hug and kiss, and she understands and will hug and kiss back.

hope this helps!

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Postby jnj0910 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:18 pm

oh, and in-laws are already instructed not to interfere, else i just swop my child up and go away.

tks to hubby who is on my side :)

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Postby janet88 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:31 pm

I am also a SAHM...I'm the one who disciplines the kids, plans the time-table and makes sure son follows...I'm strict with kids and hubby stands on my side...this year, he has been working from home quite a bit and he does discipline them when he sees them naughty.

It's tiring to be the disciplinarian all the time, but there is no choice.
However, my kids are still close to me.

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Postby KidzRKooL » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:22 pm

janet_lee88 wrote:It's tiring to be the disciplinarian all the time, but there is no choice.
However, my kids are still close to me.


I very much agree with this comment here. I couldn't have said it better myself.

@Angelight: Please don't be too sad. Although you're the nurturer and disciplinarian, it sounds like you're doing exactly what you're supposed to. Mommies are ALWAYS going to play the role of good guy/bad guy. Believe me, I know this first hand because I'm pretty much in the same boat. The only piece of advice I can provide is that you just get used to the fact that everyone will constantly be judging you. Whether or not they have children themselves, everyone is going to say "I can do better"; even if they really can't.

The best thing to do is to take things in stride and YES, PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK! It sounds like you're doing a very good job and if your kid is responding well, then you're o.k. As for the situation with your husband, I would recommend a talk, for sure. While mommies are both good/bad guys, daddies have to play the same role. Certainly make this known to him. Write down examples so you can win the argument. Hee hee. ;)

Good luck!

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Last edited by KidzRKooL on Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby janet88 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:37 pm

When kids do not behave well, the finger will always point in the direction of the mother...never the father. I am their coach, planner, doctor, nurse, maid and also the one who disciplines them...daddy is their playmate and always the good guy.
I can be the good as well as bad guy...but 99% of the time, I'm the bad guy bcos I have to nag at them not to waste time, to get work done, take a bath etc etc...they will still come to me when they are unhappy. This is something I cherish the most.

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Postby Angelight » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:10 am

Thanks all who have shared with me their parenting and disciplining methods. I really appreciate cos as a first-time mum and with only one child, I have no prior experiences and no chance to do a better job on another child. Hence the pressure of disciplining on this one precious child so as to make sure she will grow up right. Plus I have no help from extended family, and often interference from in-laws = added stress. Guess I was getting burnt out...

Kidzrcool, thanks for your timely encouragement and advice. You are right, I do need to take things in stride and be less hard on myself as a mother and parent. Had a talk with DH and he agreed to be the disciplinarian at times so we can balance out our roles.

jnj0910, I agree with you that disciplining is part of loving a child. But a 3-year-old kid won't understand that. And I always explain to her why I have to discipline her, and ONLY punish her when nice words don't work.
sometimes after disciplining her, I will go to her later and hug/kiss her. Sometime she will want me, sometimes she doesn't. But overall, she is still close to me. But compare to her daddy, he is still No 1. A typical 'Daddy's Girl"!

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Postby markfch » Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:47 am

Angelight wrote:And I always explain to her why I have to discipline her, and ONLY punish her when nice words don't work.
sometimes after disciplining her, I will go to her later and hug/kiss her. Sometime she will want me, sometimes she doesn't. But overall, she is still close to me. But compare to her daddy, he is still No 1. A typical 'Daddy's Girl"!


For me, I do most of the disciplining at home too (but no caning, only scolding/time-outs esp. when ds is rude). But as for now, ds is really much closer to me compared to dw, to dw's guilt :lol: . When ds has nightmares, hurt himself he'll call out my name and he'll also naturally share his feelings with me if he has a bad day at sch.

DW hardly ever disciplines him. Come to think about it, she also does a lot of things for ds but it's just that those are not so visible (like cooking proper meals, packing his bag). The things I do are more visible, like bedtime reading, piano practising, computer gaming (yes, I'm the game expert to ds). So I guess for ds, what matters more is who spends more time interacting with him, not necessarily who disciplines him less.
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