It's easy to see from this thread that parenting experiences (as are our children), extremely indivdual. As well they should be, right?
Early on, I was totally confused. I knew what came natural and didn't feel comfortable trusting it (societal reasons I suppose). I armed myself with information to support my natural instincts and what an amazing world of inner support for my own instincts that opened up for me (and DH also).
With that, I treated discipline in much the same manner. It's great to have instincts, but for most, it's important to arm ourselves with information to help support our philosophy. The key for me is simply to know what's normal for each given developmental stage because it helps me deal better when things come up. Basically, I read. Several different books actually, and take from them what feels right for our family, what will help DS and I connect (rather than disconnect) through discipline.
In my own experience, I felt it was about breaking the cycle of "let's have children conveniently" parenting which is how I was raised. When I talk about what comes natural to me in any given circumstance, I have taught myself not to relate to how *I* was raised by my own parents, but rather how the way they raised me made me feel. My mom yelled, I felt ashamed. She spanked occasionally, I felt demeaned and bad. She threatened surely, I felt scared. She was not in the business of nighttime parenting, made clear that at night I was on my own, and this of course still feels horrifying to me. My guide, is tapping into my own experiences as a child, from MY point of view rather than that of my parents has helped me break this cycle and have a different family life for DS. Well that and, KIDS ARE WORTH IT, KIDS PARENTS AND POWER STRUGGLES, PLAYFUL PARENTING, HOW TO TALK... you get the picture.
The beginnings of discipline shake most parents up. Every time I think I've got it all figured out, DS changes up and we're back at it again, learning growing together. I try not to let my emotions rule me during discilpine and remember to just do what actually helps the situation. Alas, if I'm tired, feeling uncreative and DS has been hell on wheelsl, I lose my temper. It happens. I hate it. And then I forgive myself, apologize to DS and know that it's important that he see mom is not perfect either, but that she's certainly going to try harder to be more sensitive next time around. A good metaphor for life I guess.
Hang in there!