My husband and I learned many years ago that we needed to decide on some form of discipline. When the kids began to outnumber the adults, even before that really, we knew that we had to come up with guidelines to establish harmony within our home.
What we didn't take into account however, was the different personalities of the kids. What works for one, by NO means, works for another.
Our oldest is pretty much the easiest. All you have to do is "look" at him and he's good to go. He's pretty well behaved to begin with and easy natured to boot. My husband and I just thought we had it ALL figured out after he came along. (This parenting stuff would be a piece of cake.)
Enter...our second son. If there's a button, he'll push it...if there's a line, he'll cross it. He is as wild as a mongoose with the energy and fun loving spirit to match. As he gets older, he is learning to listen and settle down a little, but wow. Talk about being "all boy."
Thinking that it couldn't possibly get any crazier than that...our third son arrived. Now this time, I'll take the blame 100 percent. I grew up in the country and for whatever reason, we were the type to laugh if someone fell or got hurt. Not too hurt, but "America's Funniest Videos" kind of hurt. I remember once for instance, when a group of my friends were hitting some golf balls and one made a bee-line right for my girlfriend's arm. She dropped straight to her knees and we could barely get to her because we were laughing so hard. Is this horrible? Yes. Did some twisted part of my country attitude come through to our third son?...evidently. The minute he knows that he's getting in trouble, he starts to giggle. This makes my husband CRAZY. Our son just turned five years old this month and we thought he would have grown out of it by now, but no such luck. The worst part about it is that when he starts to grin and put his head down, I have to turn my head trying not to laugh as well. My husband ends up getting furious with both of us and can't understand a thing about it.
The only issue that gets him even worse, is when it comes to disciplining our little girl. Our three year old baby princess who everyone told us would be full of emotion and drama, but we didn't have a clue...yes...that baby girl. If she does something to get in trouble, my husband can literally look at her and say "No Lauren!" and it's a total meltdown. He is blown away by this. I try to explain to him by saying, "She's a girl, Honey! She's different than the boys and she thinks you're yelling at her." He goes bonkers and says, "YELLING at her?! All I did was tell her NO!!!" Ohhhh, that gets the flood gates wide open.
Take all of this into account and picture when something happens. Let's just use the "Making a water-slide in the house," for example. The kids flooded our kitchen floor and by the time we caught it, it was a disaster. "WHAT are you guys DOING?!!"
Chrisitan: "Sorry guys! I didn't think it would be this bad. We'll clean it up. Sorry."
Ethan: "This is AWESOME!!! Watch THIS!!!" (belly slide across the floor)
Preston: "hee, hee."
Yes, discipline. Who knows if we'll ever figure out what to do with all four of them but we'll just keep trying...One circus act at a time.