Disciplining in private, not public
While on vacation a year ago, the ultimate showdown occurred over a few bites of a casserole my mom made. Our then 5-year-old daughter refused to try it, even though she had eaten it before and liked it. My husband pulled aside 5 bites and said she needed to eat it. What happened next was a battle of wills accompanied by much crying and drama.
We typically require our kids to take at least one bite of their food. They don’t have to continue eating it if they don’t like it or want it. I am not exactly sure how the 5 bites came about, but it did. I knew that I had to back up my husband once he said it, whether it was my preference or not.
After the ordeal was over, my husband and I discussed what had happened and we came to an important conclusion: even if the chicken casserole incident was worth the battle, it should not have happened in front of other people.
Most of the crying and drama that ensued during that hour was mostly due to her embarrassment. We were eating with my parents, and her aunts and she was hugely embarrassed, both by the situation and her own emotions.
What a different situation it might have turned out to be if we had pulled her aside and dealt with the situation away from the other people in the kitchen.
I think with little kids we get used to dealing with issues that come up, right there in the moment, because that is what is necessary with small children. What we need to remember is that as they get older, it is important to give them the respect and dignity of dealing with many issues privately.
Pull them into another room to talk about what is going on. Even when it is just at home, privacy from other siblings is just as important. Obviously, this isn’t necessary in every situation, but when in doubt I prefer to err on the side of a private conversation. It is definitely what I would prefer if someone was confronting me about an issue.