5 Reasons I Don’t Discipline My Kids (According to My Wife)
byMichael BahlerJun 29, 2016
Photograph by Twenty20
Yes, it's true. My wife is the disciplinarian in our family and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
When our young
kids misbehave, I retreat and my wife is the one who yells, takes away iPads,
cancels long-awaited play dates, enforces time-outs, and then endures the slings
and arrows of our two hysterical boys calling her mean and saying they don’t
love her anymore.
When she's away
and the kids act up, I either wait it out or, if it’s really bad, throw up my
arms, utter that I can’t take this anymore and pretend to storm away, hoping that
they’re finally old enough to feel sorry for me.
I'm not sure why I have such an aversion to discipline, but my wife thinks she has a better idea. Here are just five reasons why she thinks I can't discipline our kids:
I prefer the
term “softie.” And is it really fair to expect me, who as a child was regularly
spanked, lashed with my father’s leather belt, locked in the downstairs bathroom,
and given liquid Joy to the mouth, not to balk at administering discipline? Would
you call Salman Rushdie a wimp for not wanting to take part in a fatwa, no
matter how justified?
2. I don’t have the balls
This is just a sexist
version of the first reason. I know that “traditionally” the dad handles discipline,
but right now I do most of the cooking, and I don’t think my wife wants to take
I'm under no
illusion that I’ll ever be the fun parent.
3. There's something seriously wrong
Yes, but isn’t
there something seriously wrong with everyone? I'm abnormally worried that all
relationships are fragile and I’ll alienate the boys if I start disciplining
them, but then my wife has an abnormal fear of spiders. When she starts stepping on juicy spiders, we can talk about my
4. I want to be the fun parent
I'm under no
illusion that I’ll ever be the fun parent. I more see myself as the big-hearted
lenient one who makes the kids matzo ball soup. You know, the grandmother
My father thinks
they're vitally intertwined. When I was young, he would sound like Celine Dion
pronouncing that he was doing it all for love as he removed his belt, looped it
around and hit me. Even at the time, I knew that was bullshit. Discipline is
obviously necessary and required to raise good, healthy, adjusted kids and I would
do it myself if I had to (in a much gentler form than my father), because I
care more about the boys than my issues, but thanks to my wife, I’m not in that
And at the end of the day, I’m not
going to discipline my kids because I don’t want to.