Balanced Melting Pot


In Parenting, Questions on September 2, 2008 at 10:41 am

The question of how to discipline our children is one for which I don’t think that there is a right or one size fits all answer. This issue can become more compounded when you are taking into account the way that you were disciplined as a child, as well as your partner. This question is even more complex by having parents from different cultural backgrounds.

What’s funny is that even though my husband and I are culturally the same, the way that we were disciplined, and hence the way that we think our children should be disciplined varies more than expected. For instance, I think that putting a child in timeout one minute for each year they are alive (i.e. Five years-old = five minutes) is an effective form of discipline. In the Haitian culture, timeouts did not have specific time limits and are sometimes spent kneeling down, facing the wall. Our compromise is that timeouts are limited in duration and spent standing, facing the wall.

What are some of the methods of discipline you use with your children and are they a direct result of your culture? Have you modified any traditional methods to render them more effective? What was the basis for changing the method (child temperament, compromise with other parent, pressure to conform to American methods, etc.)? Or, have you decided to throw all forms of discipline out the window (please also share how you handle rule enforcement)?

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  1. As a child, I was never hit, so fortunately I carried that onto my four children. My husband, however, was hit many times, but he definitely agrees that gentle discipline is the only effective method for us. From a young age, redirection and distraction are key. Then to brief timeouts, then loss of toys/privileges, onto pre-teen and teen years with “groundings”. We have four wonderful children ranging in age from 15 years to 8 months, and we are very pleased to say they are very well behaved, without a heavy hand.

    Thank you for your post!

  2. Thank you for your comment. Out of curiousity, do you and your husband have similar cultural backgrounds?

  3. Yes, we do. He, however, was raised in a farm setting, I was raised in an upper-middle class setting. IOW, I was spoiled. LOL

  4. So much of discipline depends on the child. Some can’t stand the thought of a timeout while others aren’t bothered by it.

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