When it comes to parenting, or life in general, you have to be careful what you say. Here are 7 words a mother must never say.
I’ll never forget my dad telling me this story. The story of when he realized his mother wasn’t in control.
“I remember the moment I realized this…. I was little and had taken something forbidden so I was running down the hall away from mother. She was chasing me and trying to get it back.
Then she said it. ‘Just wait until your father gets home!‘ It clicked.
Sure, maybe I was gonna get it from my father when he got home, but that meant I could do what I wanted all day.“
Just wait until your father gets home….
Was it the ultimate threat?
“Just wait until your father gets home!”
The ultimate threat… or is it? Those seven words, placed in that order, might not have the long-term effect you desire….
The truth is, even if your children have a healthy fear of their dad’s discipline, knowing they will get in trouble come 5:30 probably won’t make them behave like angels for you the rest of the day.
Whether you and your husband share the discipline duties or your husband is the main disciplinarian, this is still a phrase to consider eliminating from your vocabulary.
Let’s dig deeper.
Take a Look at Discipline
Discipline is an all day, every day chore for mothers. But, it doesn’t have to resort to yelling threats (just wait until your father gets home) for when daddy comes home.
There are always different circumstances, but a mother’s basic look at discipline can stay the same…
Below are 4 easy tips for disciplining as a mother & eliminating those 7 words a mother must never say…..
#1- Immediate Discipline
Discipline is most effective when performed immediately.
Doing this eliminated the 7 words a mother must never say… let me explain how.
Young children do not have a long attention span. They don’t have much of a memory for things that don’t seem important at the time. If one child hits or kicks another, waiting for 6 hours before discipline is unlikely to do anything but confuse the child.
With a toddler, almost anything but the immediate correction will be lost. Therefore, treating using those 7 words could actually just be causing confusion within that child.
Examples of immediate disciple for young children and toddlers:
- Immediate time out (for a short period of time)
- Loss of a privilege that is immediately happening
- Having the item taken away
- A time of quiet to think about what happened
- Pulling the child away from the situation (for a short amount to time)
Each of these actions, when done immediately, concretes within the child that the behavior must be stopped. It also causes the child to make cause & effect relationship between actions and consequences.
Operate conditioning, if you will. Discipline fast… and do it right and the behavior should lessen significantly with time.
Read: How to get your child’s behavior back under control
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#2- Don’t Give Away Your Authority
Your husband may be the stronger disciplinarian. That’s not the point…
The point is you needn’t communicate to your children that you are not able to determine what’s best.
Your child may interpret this statement loosely as “mommy can’t make me stop, only daddy can so if daddy isn’t home, then I can do what I please.”
If your want your kids to obey you and have a healthy respect of your authority, then you need to communicate that to them.
When it’s your watch – the buck stops with you. This does not undermine partnership. Far from it… You are trusted to take care of the kids when your husband is away and, therefore, you can be trusted to discipline them as well.
Read: What Kids Want You To Do When They Push the Envelope
#3- Time and Action are in Your Hands
If the child is old enough and the act severe enough to warrant something like a week without TV or being grounded for a month, then you can still feel free to take time in deciding the appropriate punishment.
You don’t want to punish severely in haste and have to take it back later…
If the punishment deserves waiting until dad is home to make the decision together, that’s up to you! But… that does not mean using the phrase “just wait until your father gets home” in an attempt to scare them into doing what’s right.
#4- Look at the Big Picture
Fear, while a powerful emotion, is not a healthy way to control your children’s behavior…
One of the goals of parenting is to train children to make good decisions. This is especially true when it comes to behaviors and discipline.
We want out kids to do what is right out of a good heart, not to begrudgingly do what you ask because they’re afraid daddy will manhandle them after dinner.
Yes, the threat of negative consequences will naturally deter bad behavior, but there should be a delicate balance between correction with and without punishment.
You can eliminate the “7 words a mother must never say” out of your vocabulary and shift from fear tactics to training core values of behavior.
Tips to accomplish the shift from fear tactics to training of core values:
- Establish within you and your family what core values you want to alway abide by. (honesty, consideration of others, gentleness…etc.)
- Remind your children daily of these values and the importance of them.
- Have “practice time” for these values.
- Praise when you see them demonstrated.
- Reminders of these values when they are broken.
#4- Don’t Put Your Husband in an Awkward Position
Imagine a father coming home, after a hard day’s work, waiting to be greeted by tiny voices and squeals at the door.
Instead…. mama is at the door with her hands on her hips and the kids cowering behind her as she says:
“Do something about Fergus, he kicked Penelope this morning so hard she has a bruise.“
All day, she yelled at the kids “just wait until your father comes home!“
Since the behavior was not an acceptable one, he’ll feel compelled to address it (or even worse ignore it- because it happens too often).
Instead of the child being previously corrected and now able to enjoy his dad’s company, it’ll be rehashed and he’ll barely have time to recover before being sent to bed.
Theres a better way than saying the 7 words a mother must never say..
- Give dad a fair warning so he doesn’t come home to a subarctic temperature house with children waiting and worrying.
- If the kids spend more time with you, consider doing most of the discipline. That way, they can have some good daddy time!
- Your husband, if asked to carry out discipline in the few hours he has each evening or on weekends, will have less time to shed the “bad cop” label.
- When mom handles most of the discipline, dad can really crack down when it’s necessary.
If you feel discouraged because your kids only listen to their dad and not you, then chin up!
It may take a tweak or two here or there to your parenting strategy, but you can take back your portion of the leadership in the family.
And… he’ll probably thank you.
“It is a function of love to discipline your child just as God disciplines His children. And it is an act of hatred not to discipline them in some way.” – Elyse Fitzgerald.
Michelle Cannon says
Oh. My. Gosh! Finally, someone else is seeing/saying these things. I’ve been preaching it for years to parents in parenting classes, friends, family – you name it. All of these things are EXACTLY why we should never say that phrase.
Rachel Norman says
Ha, thanks Michelle for backing me up!!! ;)
Kim Glass says
My (now ex) husband was in the military, so he was out of the home for weeks, or even months, at a time. From the time my son was very little, I had to take care of the discipline on my own. It wouldn’t have been realistic at all to “wait until your dad gets home.” I had to deal with it then, and communicate the problem later, if the situation warranted it. Normally, by the time I could talk to my husband, the problem has been dealt with, so I didn’t need to share every little infraction.
My son is now 15, and he still knows Mom will take care of whatever the issue may be.
Rachel Norman says
Kim, I think that’s just how it should be. I’m sure at times you wished you could have said that, either way though huh? Well done, strong mom!
I’m sorry to nitpick, but I feel a need to point out that learning things through cause and effect is akin to operant conditioning, not classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is far simpler and involves pairing two stimuli together so that eventually a response that would be elicited by the first stimuli can be elicited by the second stimuli alone.
Rachel Norman says
Haha, Jen thank you. I’ll update it :)
Cassie Young says
I love your blog. I am a new mom, my little one is 4 months old and i find your posts so helpful! Thank you.
Rachel Norman says
Cassie, thank you so much! Oh I love 4 month olds….. so so so little still but very smiley :)
Michele Marconi says
Thank you for this post on the the comment “Wait until your father get home.” My mom used to play this card with me and my younger sister, which caused a lot of friction and time lost between me and my dad. I will never get that time back either, but that makes me realize that I will never say that to my daughter. My husband and I handle issues with our daughter as a team and back each other on the discipline since we work together from home, as well as home school our daughter. My husband’s strengths are my weakness and my strengths are his weakness…we are a strong team together and we use them to raise our strong willed daughter. Thank you again for your blog.
Rachel Norman says
So awesome for your children that you’re a team!