I think the hardest thing to do as a parent, hands down, is discipline. At least for me thus far it has been. Its really a multi-faceted challenge.
First, you need to learn to check your own temper at the door so you respond not react. This is my weakest skill as a parent. Children have a knack for finding your buttons early and pushing them often. There are too many instances where I've looked back and wanted to kick myself for getting louder than I'd like or closing a door a wee bit harder than I had meant to as I let the dog out -- she seems to run and hide outside the moment the boy starts a hissy fit. Her impeccable timing is often the last straw for me. "DOES ANYONE CARE WHAT MOMMY WANTS?!" I want to yell as I let her out, only maybe with a few more words of questionable nature tossed in.
Second, you need to ignore your inner mush-hearted weakling. The one that really does want to give in and give back the trains you just took away for the afternoon because hey, the kid said he was sorry and he seems sincere....just like he did last time he said he was never going to pull his sister's fuzzy hair.
Third, you need to squish down your giggles or at least muffle them enough that the child does not hear them as you try your hardest to be stern and serious. As we drove home last night Logan asked me to take him back up near my office so he could see the backhoe I had told him about. My office is a good 35-40 minute ride one way. I'm not taking two children there at 6:30pm just to see a dormant backhoe.
We went around a bit about this. The infamous "why" rearing its ugly head fast and furiously. Then it happened. Logan, totally unsatisfied with my verdict, said "Mommy, be quiet."
Mommy said "Excuse me?" Bad, bad response because it caused him to repeat himself. And so I issued my warning "That's enough young man. If you continue to be fresh you can go to your room the moment we get home."
SHOOT ME NOW!
"Because its rude" I tell him. And he says "What's rude?" which is almost a welcome change from what I had expected...the dreaded "Why?" We have a short chat about what it means to be rude and how important it is that he respect other people.
Didn't sink in quite as well as I'd hoped. He proceeded to then waffle between saying "Be quiet" and "Be LOUD!" He found it hilarious, laughing between each phrase. And so I told him I'd had enough and he was going to his room the moment he stepped in the house.
And then he told me what he thought of that idea, "Mommy! Now YOU are being rude!"
Holy crap! How does one NOT laugh at that indignant response?
I stifled my chuckle. I bit my tongue to keep my mouth firmly straight and I asked if I needed to give his beloved trains a time-out as well. Apparently I did not because he stopped talking.