Holiday Discipline and Family

by Jasmine Carlson on December 15, 2010

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I live in a community of people. Sometimes I feel that I am raising my son in a fish bowl of sorts. There are some interesting challenges that come up that are particularly relevant during the holiday season. One of the most difficult parts about being around a lot of people, especially family during the holidays, is discipline.

I have a great example from my community that took place the other day in our kitchen. There was a normal (albeit very naughty, which unfortunately is the norm right now) interchange between my son and my sister. The interchange involved my son saying that he didn’t like my sister which of course isn’t true but I could still see her face cloud up with hurt. The reaction from my brother-in-law was what bugged me. My brother in law took it upon himself to tell my son that what he had done was wrong and then told him that he needed to apologize to my sister.

Now, I know since we live in such close contact with other people that they do need to the right to put my son down if he is mean or to walk away. I don’t think that anyone needs to be held captive by my son’s fits. But there is also a line where family or community stops and parenting begins and that is what brings us to the holiday season.

Have you and your partner discussed a plan of action? How are you going to handle family members who step in to parenting territory? How are you going to discipline your child in front of people? Are you going to let them get away with things that you are normally on top of because you don’t want conflict?

I had it easy the other day because my mother stepped in and told my brother-in-law that it was the parents choice as to what kind of discipline my child received. I had some back up. Unfortunately that probably isn’t going to happen during your family holiday so it is important that you and your partner are on the same page and that you stick with your pre-discussed “rules” if you will, no matter how uncomfortable the situation.

It is easy to just shrug off individual moments or to think “it’s just the holidays, after this things will go back to normal.” but life is full of little moments and those little moments are what make all the difference in your life as a parent and the life of your child.

So what is your holiday discipline plan?

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Jasmine Carlson (50 Posts)

Jasmine is a community living mama with a passion for fierce writing and fitness. She her way on Team USA by fitness coaching. Shaping Her. ( Join the conversation at (

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda Kay December 15, 2010 at 9:16 am

I think you bring up a great question! So many times we react as parents instead of having a plan of action. Since we’re around my husbands family a lot, we already know how to handle their remarks about our parenting. But my family, that lives far away, needs to be talked about. Especially since they almost always have something to say (about co-sleeping or needing to be spanked) and we don’t see them much.
Thank you for this reminder! I’m passing this on to my husband and best friend too!


April McArdle December 15, 2010 at 11:28 am

I agree that discipline should be up to the parent . . .

But you’ve got to look at it from the perspective that when your BIL said “I do”, one of the things he agreed to do is defend his wife.

You’re concerned about your little one, he’s concerned about the woman he married.

It’s my opinion that your plan of action regarding holiday discipline and family should include a caveat that says “If the discipline was not abusive in any way it stands.”


L.M. December 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm

What did you mean in this sentence? “Now, I know since we live in such close contact with other people that they do need to the right to put my son down if he is mean or to walk away.”

It sounds like there’s words missing.


Jasmine Carlson December 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Sorry about the word confusion L.M. my editing must have been a bit off! I had meant to say: “Now, I know that since we live in such close contact with other people that they do need the right to put my son down or walk away from him if he is being mean.”


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