We were at a playgroup with a few children. It was not a large group. My son-at that age-was a total follower. He wanted to follow the big kids. They made him laugh and looked like fun.

The problem was, he was about 16 months old. He was not at a stage where he could think about his actions. He only saw the big boys running and making messes and thought since they looked like they were having fun that he needed to be a part of that.

The other moms were not getting involved. I don’t know why. Two moms were deep in conversation and did not appear to notice that their boys (who were about 3-4 years old) were pushing toys on the floor, taking toys away from other kids, and basically being irritating.

They needed some intervention, some discipline lessons to teach them that behavior was not ok.

I noticed my little 16-month-old mimicking the older boys. He normally played well with kids-that was his problem, he was TOO social, if that is a thing. He wanted to be in a social group even at 16 months old!

I needed to teach him right from wrong. No way my child was going to think that acting in that destructive way was ok-or fun.

Discipline In Parenting

I walked across the room from where I was seated near a friend, and immediately told my child that he needed to pick up the toys he just pushed to the floor. I said we need to keep the toys on the table and not take toys away from others.

Being 16 months old meant I was going to have to say these statements on repeat for about the next 3 years! (That is a fact.)

My son and I picked up the toys. I asked him to play nicely and walked back to my mom friend.

That lasted about a minute. He saw the big boys on their rampage and headed back to join in. 

Mom leaning down to look child in the eyes. Text reads discipline is not a dirty word parenting tips at the stay at home mom survival guide.

That was it. Time to go. 

I needed to make a point and one that was appropriate for a 16 month old. I walked over to my son, held his hand, and said, “You are not playing nicely. That means we have to go home.”

A lesson in discipline happened.

He cried. Full on tantrum. He leaned back in my arms like he wanted to break free. Have your kids done that? Made me feel like a terrible mom that my child would throw such a tantrum!

But, you know what? He got strapped into his carseat. I pretty much repeated 100 times in a row, “You did not play nicely. So we have to leave.” He probably didn’t register my words, but my actions showed him that his behavior was not ok.

He was only a little guy, but he was still learning. If we had stayed and he had continued to misbehave, I would not have been teaching him how to play well with others. His actions were affecting himself and the other children. My parenting actions had to respond.

Our parenting choices and philosophy must take a wider view. We must realize that our decisions about how we raise our children impact every human being that our children encounter in their lives.
I really believe this…crazy?
How my child acts at a playgroup impacts the other children in the room.  If I let my child make noise, run around, and push other kids’ toys around, he will cause other kids to have a bad time and dislike him. If I sit back and think, “Well, better that he gets it out here rather than at home,” then I am thinking selfishly.
Children need lessons, discipline, boundaries, whatever word you want to use to describe how you ‘parent’ your child.
So many children need more boundaries within the context of learning and engaging with the world around them. Plenty of time for open-ended play and exploration, and a healthy amount of lessons regarding self-control and adherence to appropriate rules, and we can call this discipline.
When we teach our children that there are no rules, what happens when they go to another house and there are rules? 
What happens when they go to school and there is a structure and order to the day that is intentionally set up and required to be followed?  (This structure and order teaches self-awareness and self-control, by the way.)
If we take the stance as parents that we have no rules and do not discipline, then we teach our children to be selfish.
Text reads if we take the stance as parents that we have no rules and do not discipline, then we teach our children to be selfish. New blog post Discipline is not a Dirty Word.
They don’t respect boundaries and therefore set an example to other children that there are no boundaries.
I am all for teaching critical thinking skills and questioning authority when the critical thinking has revealed inappropriate conduct of an adult.
Yes, teach the lessons that appear each day.  If an adult who did something terrible to a child is discussed on the news, use it to teach about personal space, not trusting strangers, and right versus wrong.
But to set the foundation of educating about self-control while not teaching a child to be disciplined is destructive to encouraging respect for adults and awareness of others’ needs.
Dieticians teach self-control (aka ‘discipline’) when it comes to eating. 
Trainers encourage discipline when it comes to working out regularly. 
Teachers teach discipline in regards to study habits.
Why is ‘discipline’ a dirty word in parenting? 

Teaching why boundaries exist-to protect us and others, and why we need to respect well-intentioned boundaries, so we don’t hurt ourselves or others-is essential in parenting.  I encourage you to develop your discipline strategy.  It does us a huge favor to live in a disciplined manner if we are trying to teach it to our children.
It really is simple:
Eat well, exercise, treat others with respect.  

Thinking of it in those terms makes ‘discipline’ sound like a pretty good goal to me!

Our parenting choices affect every person our child interacts with from the time they are toddlers to adulthood. Discipline is essential to teach. It is not a dirty word in parenting.