Why is it that I feel so awful after I discipline my kids, even though they totally deserve a consequence to their actions?

Case in point – one of the boys was asked to tidy something away before bedtime. A reasonable request, one that was asked in a calm tone. The answer was an extremely defiant “No” which escalated into said child yelling and slamming doors. A huge no-no in this house.

I told him that the next five times he asks something of me, my answer will be “No”. He didn’t like that idea at all. He didn’t think that was fair. But I figure it puts the point across fair and square and the punishment indeed fits the crime. He is also not allowed out on his bike today after school. That punishment is for the tremendous chutzpah he showed in his defiance, the slamming doors etc.

He deserves to learn his lesson. So why do I feel awful? I already used up one of the noes. I was making his lunch. I got the cream cheese out of the fridge. He asked if he could have tuna instead. I said “No, not today.” And reminded him that he has 4 noes left now. (And truly, making him tuna would not have been difficult at all).

He left for school, as if nothing happened yesterday. Yet I still feel hungover from it. I am also still waiting for an apology. I will stand firm and follow through, I always do, but why does it have to hurt so much??

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  1. It’s a clever punishment, but one that could quickly backfire if he gets clever about it. “Mom, can I clean my room now, please?” or “Mom, may I do a load of laundry for you?” or “Mom, can I do my homework tonight?” LOL – if he hasn’t already figured this one out, his friends at school are likely to clue him in.

    It hurts because we don’t like to be “the bad guy” to our children. But in the long run, they’ll appreciate consistency and having someone who knows them – flaws and all – and loves them enough to set rules and boundaries. They don’t NEED us as friends – friends, they’ve got. They only get ONE mother.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      Holly – fair point, but the kids know I am not going to fall for that. Plus they forget quickly that Ima said she was going to say NO, until I say it.

      I agree with your point about not being their friend. I know plenty parents out there whose children have no boundaries precisely because their parents want to be their friends.

  2. batya from NJ says:

    It also hurts b/c you want to feel as though your kids love you all the time & of course while you are disciplining them, they may not be feeling the love at that particular moment in time which makes you feel bad. Truth is, disciplining them is important in order to train them to become mature responsible adults who learn that there are consequences to their behaviors but it is not easy to be a Mom (or Dad) when the kids are out of line & we as parents must try to rein them in somehow.

  3. Both our kids are now away at college. But over the years we have tried successfully and unsuccessfully to do the same sort of things. My son has always had a problem saying he was sorry, my daughter hasn’t. While my son figures he is right about everything and knows just about everything, my daughter is not sure about a lot even though she is super smart. We’ve found that they both need the bounds setting, but react differently. Only with the advent of a girlfriend has my son’s attitude changed. Speaking from personal experience, only with the trials and tribulations of being a parent do you truly appreciate your own parents.

    We found also that our kid’s friends’ parents think they are angels. Apparently they will do almost anything in someone else’s house. At home they have the need to let their hair down (so to speak), because at home they know they will be loved and accepted no matter what. Still that doesn’t mean they don’t need boundaries – good luck with the boychicks! :-)

  4. Mark says:

    There’s a lot of truth to that saying “this is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you” when you have to punish your children.

  5. YC says:

    Your consequence was discipline/ punishment.

    We try to go with a consequence or better: a natural consequence.
    Consequence of a not cleaning room is a messy room or consequence of not eating is they may get hungry. Consequence of not matching is they may get made fun of.

    So for not hanging up a coat we wont dock a bicycle. Maybe bill him/her for picking it up.

    I try not get into fights over chutzpah, I just calmly say, I dont like it when children talk to me in that tone. Depersonalize.

    Good luck

  6. haim says:

    If the child is clever, he should ask for 3 more things he does not care about, and that’s it…

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