Many would agree that one of the toughest jobs is parenting. With children are numerous, sometimes overwhelming, variables: temperaments, issues, emotions, complex developmental changes often occurring simultaneously. The process of parenting takes a totally dependent infant to an independent adult, and while that process can be incredibly enjoyable, it is not without some extremely challenging periods, especially when involving effective discipline.
Step away from anger to healthy, effective discipline
We have been writing about anger and its impact in our world. Much of what creates unhealthy anger is done in the name of discipline, particularly in the early years of childhood.
Why does it seem that when children become out of control it is so easy for frustrated parents to display their anger in unhealthy ways? So, how might our children deal with parents’ unhealthy anger?
- Trying to prevent the (frightening) consequences
- Rebelling or acting defiantly (particularly as teenagers)
We do what we observe?
Usually our models as parents for dealing with discipline come from our own experiences and assumptions as children.
We tend to discipline our children like we were disciplined. So, if our parents were healthy in their disciplinary approach, then we, too, will have a much better understanding of what healthy discipline looks like. However, if our parents were unhealthy in their approach to discipline, then we tend to be loyal to the unhealthy messages that they have “implanted” in us, and thus continue the same processes they used with us as children. These processes and practices become our core beliefs, and this is why we often continue them in our own homes (also see our post on family loyalty).
Discipline as a factor in a child’s future emotional health
I believe that the way we discipline our children is a huge factor in their emotional and relational health for the rest of their lives.
I will be discussing this very important topic in the next few posts. In doing so, I hope to provide ways that parents and caregivers can utilize discipline that will help our children become responsible and healthy adults. We will look at discipline without the unhealthy (too weak or too forceful) baggage often attached.
What does healthy effective discipline look like?
In other words, we want parental discipline to help our children grow and develop good and appropriate boundaries, a strong sense of responsibility and accountability for their behavior, and with a sense of unconditional love from their parents or caregivers that will provide stability and confidence as they step through normal transitions in life.
I look forward to this discussion as we take this journey in effective discipline.
It is my hope to support and instill confidence in our parents as they take on the difficult challenges of discipline. Parents will need support as they work through the growth and developmental phases of children who are by nature impulsive, egocentric and immature.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to establish a strong sense of self-worth, to be clear and confident in who they are. One of the tools for that successful growth will be in how we discipline them to become responsible adults.
Stay tuned for some great research as well as opportunities to evaluate and improve the ways we think about and practice effective discipline with our children and teenagers.
Thanks, again, for reading Lakeside Connect.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network