I need help disciplining my kids

What do you do to discipline your children?  Sometimes I’m lost and don’t have a clue what to say or do.

Like yesterday.  Master five-year-old, in his first year at school, put some of the kids lunchboxes and drink bottles in the bin.  I’m not sure why.  He didn’t have much to say about the matter.  I guess he thought it was funny.

So what to do?  The teacher mentioned it to my husband at school pick-up.  She’d had a few words with our son.  So what do we do?

I’m never sure how far to go and sometimes wonder if my words are too harsh.  Of course you want to express your displeasure/anger, but how exactly?  Sometimes I find I’m repeating myself and wonder if I’ve said too much.  In other words, I’ve out of stuff to say and am now repeating myself just to reinforce the point.

I’m reminded of something a former boss once told me, “Repetition doesn’t strengthen an argument”.

Chatting to a Mum about this one day, I remember her comment that you want to discipline your children, but be measured so as not to crush their confidence.  So now I’ve also got to consider whether I’m causing psychological damage.  How fraught this all is!

Another time, the teacher remarked that my son had been quite loud and rowdy in class that day.  It’s hard to get much more intelligence from the teacher as you’re mobbed by a pack of five-year-olds scrambling for their backpacks and darting about for their parents.

Again, how to respond?  So he was loud and rowdy – I presume that means disruptive.  But to what degree?  My approach is to find a quiet place, and time, at home to speak with my son.  I usually start by asking what happened, but not much is forthcoming.  Selective memory at play I suspect.

I remind him how important it is to have good manners and good behaviour and trot out my usual lines, ‘don’t talk when the teacher is talking, listen to what she says, don’t yell or disrupt the class’, etc…

Is there something else I’m missing?  I’m just starting out on this school gig – with three other younger siblings to follow – so need to nail my lines and responses in preparation for the rest of the tribe.

How about you?  Are you as lost and confused as me when it comes to disciplining your kids and knowing how far to push it?  I’d love to know your thoughts and would gratefully welcome any advice!