DAVE GOODERHAM: Caught in a dilemma over discipline

A personal view
A personal view
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It had to happen sooner or later. After all, it seems to happen to most parents. I only left my son for a matter of moments. He was happily watching Mickey Mouse while I went into our kitchen – ironically, to earn brownie points with Mrs G via a quick tidy-up.

Lets start with the important one…the iPad!

Knowing that a) my children would use it, b) I am the clumsiest person I know and c) I had already spent close to £100 repairing two iPhone screens, I shrewdly invested in a case for my pride and joy.

Nothing fancy, a plain case which now has pen marks all over it. George’s love of drawing circles which currently quickly descend into a swirly mess (sorry son) had taken on new depths on the blank canvas of an iPad case.

Then there was the wall. Fortunately, I had caught him in the act, meaning he was unable to really make an impact during his first go at graffiti. Unfortunately, the wet wipes – so often a saviour for so many different things – didn’t have the required effect.

So there I was faced with the dilemma of how to discipline.

I firmly believe my children should be brought up knowing the importance of manners and respect, knowing right from wrong. But as I tried to make George, two-and-a-half remember, realise what he had done and why it was wrong, a quiver quickly emerged.

My aforementioned parental code of conduct crumbled at its very foundations as I gave him a tender cuddle and his soft tears wet my shoulder. We’ll sort the wall, don’t worry son.

My mum thinks I’m too hard on my children. Ironically, we still mock her about the ‘punishment’ she bestowed on my four older brothers. I say ironic as a sweeter woman – and softer nan – you couldn’t hope to meet.

Determining the right level of discipline is a thorny issue, especially in these modern times. Indeed, it will vary from family to family and, within reason of course, who is to say what’s wrong or right in an individual household?

I read a fascinating column in a national newspaper last week from a mum who never disciplined her three children, instead preferring to talk things through with them.

The end result of her never muttering the words ‘naughty step’? A recent weekend away which was abruptly cut short by one of her teenage daughters hosting a house party and another absconding with their ‘true love’.