Discipline: A Parent's Most Important
and Most Difficult Job
Seven Imperative Discipline Basics
IS About Training
and Coaching; NOT Punishing
The Capables™ are designed to help parents distinguish discipline from punishment. Punishment is often administered out of anxiety, insecurity, fear, frustration or anger. I believe that punishment is a penalty that is imposed on someone for wrongdoing. The goal of discipline is to teach, not to punish. We want our children to learn how to make GREAT™ choices.
It is by disciplining or teaching children that parents help their child(ren) become great, responsible, caring human beings. Discipline is not for the parents benefit. It is not an outlet to help parents relieve their frustrations. Discipline is not about making a child pay for ‘bad’ behavior, or a power play to prove who is boss. A parent’s real power comes from teaching their child(ren) to be better, stronger, wiser, more compassionate, more loving and more confident. Discipline is the opposite of punishment and focuses on love.
Love Your Children Unquestionably
The only way to insure that your child knows that you love them unquestionably is when they watch you in your unwavering dedication to do the very best for them and help them develop to their fullest potential. Children need to believe that you believe in them and have high expectations when it comes to their capacity to be great human beings.
How does "unconditional love" serve a child? I believe the word "unconditional" should be replaced with "Unquestionable". We want to place conditions upon our children that will increase their chances of succeeding in relationships and in society. When we love them unquestionably, they learn that even though we do not appreciate or approve of horrible, mean, hurtful behaviors, we know the best of what they are capable of choosing and we expect them to make those choices? Parents help children set societal and relational boundaries. Help them understand that you do not love them in spite of their worst, but because you KNOW the truth of their BEST.
The goal of parental discipline is to help your children develop self-discipline through developing internal limits and standards. Children must learn to cope with their own selfishness, anger, frustration, impulsiveness and entitlement in order to feel a sense of control and security in their lives. The strength of your child’s ability to set healthy limits is a direct result of your willingness to lovingly, but consistently, set and maintain limits when they are small. When they know that you love them unquestionably, they believe that you discipline them because you love them, not because you don’t.
“All learning, even of limits and structure, begins with nurturing care,
from which children learn trust, warmth, intimacy,
empathy, and attachment to those around them."
Dr. Stanley Greenspan, Great Kids
3. Parent with the
End Result in Mind
Discipline is about helping your child(ren) become more self-reliant and confident. Keep that end result in mind at all times when it comes to disciplining your child. It will help you do what is best for your child, instead of what they want you to do, or what is easiest to at the moment.
The goal is to help our children become confident, capable and self-reliant. A three year old child has the power to dress herself, make her bed, prepare her breakfast, sort whites from colors in the laundry, dust, and more. As easy as three, she can adequately show other children how to do the things she does. But many parents are concerned that their children need time to be kids. They grow up so quickly and they will have to have responsibilities soon enough so why burden children with chores and responsibilities too soon?
4. Discipline each Child
According to their
Any parent who has ever had more than one child quickly learns that each child is unique. They have different temperaments, personalities, strengths and weaknesses. As a parent you need to learn about your child and adapt your parenting style to each of your children’s
individual needs. This does not mean, change who you are, or change your value structure. It means, it is valuable to understand the lenses through which each of your children are seeing the world.
A disciplining strategy that works perfectly for one child and their personality, might completely backfire with another child
because their personality is so very different.
I have created the Primary Colors personality Test and Insight Tools, where you can begin to understand different personality tendencies, AND you are welcome to subscribe to find fun and interesting videos about children and different personalities on my OverJOYed Life YouTube channel. Take the PCPT
personality test and think about how your personality
and your child’s personality,
are the same or different?
5. As a Parent, Be Resilient
& Teach Your Children to Do the Same
Another important job we have as parents is to help our children adapt to changes beyond their control in life. Figuring out how to adapt to different situations in our lives helps develop and strengthen our creativity and problem solving skills. Kids need to learn to not be easily tipped over by life. If life puts up roadblocks toward accomplishing their dreams, they need to know how to navigate their way around the roadblock.
Children need to develop hardy and resilient natures. A child must learn not only how to adapt to unexpected change, but also, how to handle rejection and disappointment in order to succeed and fulfill their life goals and dreams. Every person, large or small, brown, black or white, tall or short, girl or boy, young or old will experience disappointment. Disappointment is a reality of life. Like the seasons, disappointment will come and go and return again. Therefore helping our children to develop resilience and a hardy disposition is very important.
If your children are not resilient and hardy, disappointment can break their hearts and their spirit. We cannot save our children from experiencing disappointment, nor should we even try. Instead we should focus on helping them develop healthy ways to deal with the reality of disappointment in their lives.
It is how we deal with disappointment that defines our wisdom,
and emotional intelligence,
and ultimately our success.
6. Model and
Whether a child’s disappointment is caused by
something outside of the child’s control, or it is a consequence
of a child’s inappropriate choice, empathy needs to be our first response. If your child can feel your empathy as you explain to them that ALL people feel disappointed at times, no matter who they are, the child begins to believe that their disappointment is a normal part of life. But disappointment is never an excuse to give up on yourself or your dreams, nor does it ever justify making a choice that is hurtful or lacks wisdom and kindness.
Empathy helps you align with your child during a difficult time and helps them feel they can indeed deal effectively with the disappointment. You can connect and bond with your child by telling them there are times you feel disappointed too.
Tell them, each time you ask yourself, “If I were GREAT™,
what choice would I make?”
This exchange helps your child develop
internal unstoppable fortitude.
7. Teach Children
To Believe In Something Big
and Wonderful that Loves Them
I have spent over 40 years counseling families, couples and children. I have counseled children who have been abused,
I have counseled women who have been raped or beaten.
I have counseled young men returning from brutal wars.
In each instance, I discovered that those individuals who
were connected to their faith, whatever that faith was,
were without question, the hardiest, most hopeful, most optimistic and most amenable to healing.
Faith is important.
Faith fortifies us, encourages us, inspires us and
guides us in making decisions about how
we will choose to live our lives.
The highest reward for a man's toil
is not what he gets for it,
but what he becomes by it.
William J. Doherty, PhD tells us in his book Take Back Your Kids that children are now seen as consumers
of parental services. And parents are viewed as providers of parental services and brokers of community services
for children. It has become the job of “good”parents to serve and provide their children with a plethora of activities
and rewards, so their children can have every chance at success in today’s fast-paced, competitive society.
This imbalance of services provided on demand comes with a high price tag.
It teaches your children that they are to be served, but NOT how to serve.
When parents view themselves as providers of services they end up very confused and even anxious. Not that providing
services isn’t a part of what it means to be a parent, it is. But we must distinguish the kind of services that truly aid
our children in becoming all they are capable of being.
If we listen to messages from other confused parents, the media and the inflated and entitled demands of our children,
we can begin to feel that no matter how much we do and give, there is never enough.
That is exactly how entitlement slyly infects our families.
Most parents wouldn’t think twice about setting limits for their children in situations where danger is clearly present. Not one parent would hesitate to stop a child from playing in the middle of a busy intersection.
The confusion comes when parents are not sure of what is harmful and what is helpful. We have higher education
for everything except for the two areas that we need it the most—parenting and relationships.
Therefore many parents don’t understand some of the services that they are providing
and how they are being provided are actually harming their children.
It is every man's obligation to put back into the world
at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.
Do Not Try
“Excellence is the Journey.
Discipline is the Vehicle."