Rules and Consequences
We’ve decided to change things up a bit. When we started DD (less than two months ago) Michael put rules in place with specific consequences tied to them if I broke them. For instance, one of the rules is that if he isn’t home I need to text him upon getting up in the morning and before going to bed at night. If I failed to do so it would mean 2 swats with the paddle, one on each cheek, for each instance. For each rule he put in place, there was a specific consequence for breaking that rule.
This worked well for us at first. It gave us a structure to work with. It gave me an understanding of what was important to him and I knew what he expected of me and what would happen if I failed to meet those expectations. For him, it helped with consistency. There was no need for him to question whether he should discipline me over something or not if there was already a rule and a coordinating consequence in place.
After a little time it became apparent that there were some problems with this structure. It was a good place for us to begin, but it had some shortcomings. For one thing, it didn’t address the reason why I broke a rule. For instance, if I failed to text him at night, was there some reason behind it such as being sick and having taken cold meds that knocked me out or did I remember and just decide not to do it? Shouldn’t the discipline be different in these instances? It also didn’t really address my mindset at the time of discipline, where I was at that moment. For instance, would two swats convey to me how he felt about me not texting him? Maybe. If I was already feeling contrite, then yes, it certainly might. If I just didn’t see what the big deal was, then no, probably not.
So, where do we go from here? Well, I came across some information regarding something called the 4 D’s…disobedience, disrespect, dishonesty and dangerous. Michael liked the idea behind them and wants to incorporate them into our structure, though he’s still mulling over exactly how. I find myself wondering if we even need such a structure. But, I also realize how important it is for us to be on the same page with this stuff. It’s so new yet and we’re still sorting out how to make it work for us.
At this point, the rules (or expectations…that sounds better, don’t you think?) are still in place and I know that if I break a rule (or fail to meet an expectation) there will be discipline. However, there’s no longer a specific discipline or amount of discipline associated with each expectation, er, rule. That is now at his discretion. In reality, it always was, but this way he has more freedom to drive his point home if he feels the need or to offer me leniency if he feels that it’s warranted. I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes.
So, I’m curious, how does this play out in your relationship? What’s your structure like regarding rules and consequences? Is it something that you’ve made changes to over time?