The Don't Beat Yourself Up Guide To Discipline

I have been a teacher for well over a decade. I have a Masters in Education. I have had teenagers scream at me, swear at me, throw things at me. I can pretty much cope with anything. But do you think that I can get my four year old to wear leggings? Hell no. Do you think that I can get my little boy to share? Not a chance. Do you think I have ever stood in the garden whispering to my husband on the phone to him "I just can't do it. They won't do what I want" and having a little cry? Yep. And more than once.

I don't know the reasons why, and I presume it must be to do with love and sh*t, but our very own children seem to be the ones that tip us over the edge the most. And despite all my years of training. Even I feel like a total and utter failure some (actually quite a lot) of the time. I have had screaming rows with my daughter in front of my family, I have near on heart attacks when my son has ran across a park. And let us never mention the time when I popped my daughter's balloon in the back of the car as she was being a nightmare (this Mummy guilt shall NEVER leave me).

I could continue letting my two get away with blue murder permanently. But I believe that sometimes? Children need discipline. And I have accepted with good grace (and by that I clearly mean I hate it) that I am 'Bad Cop'. In my house I am the one that does the naughty step, that organises the reward charts for potty training/staying in bed/not being an arse. Only half an hour ago my daughter was running circles round her Dad in the garden. I popped my head out the window and shouted like a fishwife "IN!". And she came in.

I am the one that has to take them outside to have words when there are strops in restaurants, or they are lying in the middle of Asda screaming. I have taken away toys, I have picked and carried shouting children to naughty steps and YES I HAVE POPPED A BALLOON AND CAN WE ALL STOP GOING ON ABOUT THAT NOW PLEASE. And I am also the one who has felt terrible about this. I hate being the shouty parent. It's not such hard at work when I'm screaming at a 6ft 2 lad who's just told me to f*ck off. They don't have huge blue eyes or scream "nobooooddddy looovvveeesss meeeee" (my girls newest party piece).

But? Just as you can't have two 'Good Cops' (we don't need another person continuously feeding them ice lollies and playing a game called The Gruffalo where everybody ends up crying). You can't also have two 'Bad Cops'. So I am taking one for the team. My two need boundaries and they need to learn the life lessons that will help them in later life. Can you scream, cry and throw yourself to the floor when your boss wants a report in? Nope and neither can you bite them or bonk them over the head with a plastic dinosaur.

So next time my son is lying mutely on the floor, or my daughter is screaming "but why do you hate me?". I am going to calmly walk them to the naughty step, or put a cross on the reward chart and think of how they will thank me when they are the worlds first hybrid scientist/lawyer/international popstar.
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