‘You know there would be consequences’ I said
‘Yes daddy’ Kemi replied remorseful.
Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash
But Daddy shouts too sometimes fired back Sade, my 6 years old daughter. She is the strong willed one. Kemi is more submissive.
Seeing I was trapped I agreed ‘’yes anyone that shouts in this house must be disciplined including me’.
Sade continued ‘’ that means no treats for daddy too! No ShopRite and dominos for daddy too’’
‘’so who would take us to ShopRite and dominos if you say no treats for daddy’’ Kemi replied Sade’
.I thought I was off the hook until Sade responded without even thinking about it ‘’Daddy would take us there but he would stay in the car!
We all burst into laughter.
How did we get to this point where my own daughter can discipline me?
Photo by Oliver Ragfelt on Unsplash
Looking back I can identify 3 reasons.I realized that we have talked about discipline and what we hope to achieve by it. ‘’Any time you fail to complete your homework before bedtime, you lose 30minutes of screen time for the next day”.
“But why daddy?’’ Kemi asked (You see my kids love the screen, so taking away screen time is a big deal).
‘’You mum and I want you to have life skills such as decision making and so from now we want you to learn to prioritize, that is to do the most important things first. This would help you become responsible adults. We know you want to be responsible adults like mum and dad, right?”
Yes daddy, they echo! So if you want to have your complete screen time, do what is important first. Screen time is a reward for work done.
They accept the discipline because we set the rules together: As you can see we are big on conversations.
So my wife, Pelumi and I sit with the kids and talk about the rules and consequences for breaking them.
For us making hard things seem fun is a much better strategy than making hard things seem important. The kids no longer look at household chores as gruesome tasks but as an opportunity to work together as a team.
‘’This weekend, I and Sade get to fix the children’s room, Mum and Kemi get the do the dishes, let see which team finishes first”….. then there is great enthusiasm and speed to complete the tasks at hand.
During the week when I have to go to work, they have to do chores individually, and when the rules are broken and it is time for discipline they are aware and accept it as being fair.
We have reviews and feedbacks regularly: We end our day every day, (except on the days the ‘Lagos traffic’ deals with me on the way back home) with a review of how each one’s day went.
We ask if the kids faced any challenges and we also talk about our challenges. We commend them for going through the day and living up to the standards we are trying to live by. We review the rules and consequences periodically.
Pelumi never forgets to ask them for feedback. It’s always a ‘no consequences for telling the truth’ kind of feedback.
That is how I got to know I was doing well on my journey to being a better dad. Kemi said’. ‘’Now dad only shouts when it’s an emergency or when there is danger. You can’t expect him to say ‘Look out’’ with a mild tone “.
I felt proud when I heard that. Not because I had become the best dad but because I am still on the journey to being a better dad and I am seeing results.
Why not try out these 3 principles yourself and see how practical they are. In the meantime remember it is an honor to be a dad and it is a journey. For today, be a better dad than you were yesterday?
Editor’s note: We hope you enjoyed this read. Daddy blogs provide a lot of insight on the fatherhood experience, in the bid to encourage more men to express their journeys as we previously wrote about here we decided to inspire daddy bloggers with this post. This post was originally posted on The Better Dad Network blog.