As we continue to explore the important but often complex subject of effective discipline, it might be helpful for parents to consider some of the clues that would be beneficial to them in becoming clearer, more confident and more competent when it comes to effective discipline.
Looking for clues: a list for you
Parents can begin this process by asking themselves if they find any of the following to be true about themselves and their relationship with their children:
Do you sometimes or often feel one or more of the following:
- out of control
- that you are bargaining
- need to defend your decisions
- that you are frequently in power struggles with your children
- that you must argue your point
- that you can easily be manipulated by your child
- that you are in need of your child’s approval
- that you are fearful of your child’s anger, power, disapproval
- you feel compromised or helpless
- that you have a need to convince/cajole a child to get compliance
- resentful of your child’s behaviors or demands
- like you are walking on eggs
- unsure of your right and duty to be the final authority
- that your child’s needs are more important than yours and should always come first
- that if your child begs for something long enough, both of you know you will probably give in
- that your own self-esteem is tied up with your child’s outward expression of love; it seems your child may withdraw that love if you don’t comply with demands
- that you must do battle to get your way with your child
- a need for your child to appreciate what you are doing for him/her.
Each of these is a clue or signal
The list above includes clues that a parent would benefit from in gaining the many skills (as well as attitudes and beliefs) that are essential when disciplining effectively. If you see yourself reflected in one or more of these, you might go back and review some of the components of an Effective Discipline Report Card.
We also will continue this journey of exploring how to be effective when disciplining by considering ways parents can be caring and compassionate as well as fair and effective when imposing limits and consequences on their children.
And don’t despair if one or more of these items resonate with you. Having presented this list hundreds of times to thousands of parents, almost all nod in agreement concerning how it describes how many feel when parenting.
Invitation to reflect:
- When you read the list of possible parent feelings above, which one or ones jumped out for you?
- If one or more of these is true for you, how did that realization make you feel?
- When it comes to imposing and enforcing consequences, how clear are you about the principles and practices that can maintain your child’s emotional health as well as a healthy relationship between you and your child?
Diane Wagenhals, Director of Institute for Professional Education and Development, Lakeside Educational Network