Suppose your child has left Legos all over the living room again! Can you picture the scene? Can you feel yourself become frustrated immediately? Are your shoulders instantly stiffening just thinking about the scene and the consequences? And this was just pretend. What happens when you are right in the midst of inappropriate behavior?
Ponder What Discipline Really Means
Discipline comes from the root word Disciple and means, “training to act in accordance with rules, instruction or learning, a regimen that develops or improves skills.” This puts parents, teachers, coaches and other adults who are in a position of authority in the position of a leader and teacher who wants to train and encourage.
Discipline is accomplished when a child is shown how to behave in a more acceptable way.
It does not have to be physical.
To punish someone is to treat them harshly and to inflict a penalty for some offense or fault, and it becomes child abuse when the adult is deliberately injuring a child in physical, verbal or sexual ways. One never learns from punishment, except to punish others. A friend’s 4-year-old child once said after receiving a spanking for an infraction, “I can’t wait till I’m big enough to hit someone.” Needless to say, that was the last time they used corporal punishment.
Parental Discipline Is A Learning Process
Parental discipline is a learning process, which helps us to both correct and prevent problems. When we use reward and punishment to teach self-control we set up power struggles and situations that encourages rebellion, resistance and arguments. That style creates an outward directed action, whereas if we want to develop inner self-control and confidence, we must include them in the teaching process.
When we give our children choices within appropriate limits and help them be aware of natural and logical consequences of those choices, we help them gain some control over various areas of their lives.
Use I Statements
Whenever we start a dialog with a child with the word “you” defenses go up and they anticipate being scolded or told to do something they probably won’t want to do.
- You stop that this minute
- You didn’t do that right
- You are acting like a baby
- You know better than to kick me
However, when parents begin the sentence with an “I,” there is no accusation or blame attached and it doesn’t feel like it is directed at them directly.
“I” statements are actually just statements of how you feel and no one can argue with your feelings. When a child’s behavior is unacceptable to a parent because in some way it is interfering with our enjoyment or our rights, we own the problem. By using” I’ messages, we are sharing our perceptions, not making judgments about the child.
- I don’t like to step over toys on the floor. It makes me feel like I could slip and fall on them. Please keep them in one place or we will have to put them away for the rest of the day.
- I am concerned because…
- This is the way I see it…
- I worry when…
The best “I” message of all is “I love you.”
I know you are a kind and loving parent or you would not have been drawn to this topic. I realize how difficult parenting can be at times. Been there, done that. My aim is to empower you with tips, techniques and easy to use methods that will strengthen your family unit.
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