I believe in positive parenting. When I wrote a post on the Joy of Compassionate Parenting at Parentous last month it seemed natural that the next thing I would focus on would be the value of discipline in positive parenting.
One of the building blocks of positive parenting is Kindness and since it is Random Acts of Kindness Week from February 11 to 17, I want to focus on that today.
Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others.
William J.H. Boetcker (1873-1962)
Religious Leader, Influential Public Speaker
When we show kindness towards others and when others are kind to us, an obvious outcome is happiness. And so, when we show kindness to our children in our actions and motives, it makes for a joyous relationship. Children are ready to listen and be responsive when we ask them to do something, especially if our requests are logical and make sense to them. Being considerate never hurt anyone.
My post today is about positive parenting and the value of discipline. I touch upon why children welcome routine and discipline and the problems likely to crop up with discipline. I share how we implement discipline, with some of the ways that have helped me, elaborating on the following:
- Why we should emphasize the value of cooperation
- Why focus on what we want and not what we don’t want
- Why one should never discipline in anger
- How we can help children cooperate by asking them for ideas
Ultimately, behavior is a choice. We all have the power to choose good – or bad – behavior. Handholding children through the consequences of each choice and the response it was likely to evoke in others keeps their dignity intact instead of making them feel bad.
Positive parenting, finally is all about being able to answer this question honestly”Can I take this if I were a child?”.
Positive Parenting: The Value of Discipline
In my last post, The Joy of Being a Compassionate Parent, I mentioned that “compassion is not about allowing children to do whatever they want. It is not about letting them get away with anything they do” – which gave me the idea for today’s post – the value of discipline.
Just like you and me, children need discipline in their lives to be their best selves. The good news is they actually want it. Children love routine. Without it, they feel alone and unloved. While they expect parents to set the limits, they also think it is their birthright to rebel against them. That being said, it is the parent’s job to set limits related to safety, health, education, morality, and inspire cooperation.
Easier said than done, you might say. It is not that hard, though. Problems with discipline usually crop up in the form of irritation from a physical cause such as hunger, lack of sleep, or some feeling of discomfort. Have you noticed that when you meet your child’s physical needs and yours, the world looks like a better place?
The same goes for emotional discomfort due to restlessness and usually, disappointment over something. Parents who yell or put down their children and worse – use physical violence – will only make things worse, causing pain for both and messing up this beautiful relationship forever.
How to implement discipline?
“Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes”. – Chinese Proverb
Obviously, discipline is a long-term job. Unless it has to do with safety-related issues, discipline is almost always related to more than one behavior. The idea, then, is to nurture a set of behaviors over time. Here are some ways that have helped me:
One major issue at my place, for a short while, was the time my son spent at the computer. So my son is not a fan of computer games, thankfully, but at that particular time, he was crazy about folk tales and could spend hours looking for new ones. He sometimes went way beyond the time cap of two hours.
Controlling my urge to let off steam, I cooled down and asked him what we should do the next time he did this. Promptly came the answer “refuse to let me sit at the computer”. Deprivation. Hmm. Out of the mouths of babes. Enough said. He also became conscious of keeping track of time.
My most important tip – and learning – would be something my Mom taught me in the way she related with me. Whenever she had to pull me up for something, she would tell me that my behavior is a choice. I have the power to choose good – or bad – behavior. She would handhold me over the consequences of each choice and the response it was likely to evoke in others. This kept my dignity intact instead of making me feel bad.
As I said earlier, we all want to be seen as positive people with good qualities. Children are no different.
Of course, they will drive you crazy, but don’t stay mad for too long. Above all, ask yourself, “Can I take this if I were a child?” If you said yes, congratulations!
Happy Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget to say your “I love you’s” to those you love.
What is your experience in introducing/implementing discipline?
So you have probably read the following poem countless times, and so have I. But I feel fresh inspiration each time I read it:
Children Learn What They Live By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
Wouldn’t you say the same holds good for adults?
Love does make the world go around!
And here are some lovely quotes on positive parenting:
All children behave as well as they are treated
Praise your children openly, reprehend them secretly
– W. Cecil
Always kiss your children goodnight – even if they’re already asleep.
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
— Charles R. Swindoll
What are your views on positive parenting and introducing discipline?