I think as a society in general, we tend to focus on what we are doing "wrong" as parents. I love what we are doing this week as we focus on what a healthy Mom looks like vs. what we are all doing wrong. Today we are going to focus on discipline.
Discipline is about Teaching, not just Punishment
When we think of discipline we often think of punishment. But the actual word "disciple" comes from the word "discipline" because it is about teaching.
One of the best ways to teach your child is thru positive reinforcement. It is easy to focus on what a child is doing "wrong" when they are having negative behaviors. But if you start focusing on the positive things too (even if you have to dig a little), it will go a long way in helping them to start focusing on doing what's positive, too. Rewarding positive behavior will guide them into thinking about positive things they can do vs. the negative.
However, let's talk about negative behaviors. We can't focus on the positive all the time. A healthy Mom thinks of consequences that are logical and that fit the crime. Natural consequences are the best- if you don't do your homework, you will get a bad grade. If you don't eat your breakfast, you'll be hungry by 9:00 (they will live!). If natural ones don't exist, logical are the best. If you don't come home by curfew, you won't go out tomorrow night because you are not showing you are responsible enough to go out. If you slug your neighbor instead of using your words, you won't play with your neighbors for a week to give you some time to think of another way to handle the situation. Remember, logical and natural are the best.
The most important thing to remember with discipline is being consistent and following thru. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you tell them there will be a consequence and you don't follow thru, they will quit believing you and won't care about the consequence. Now there are times where you need to be flexible and open, but for the majority of the time, stick to your guns!
And lastly, don't forget to teach. Talk to your kids about the consequences of their actions. Share with them an appropriate story from your childhood that may help them understand how your mistakes made a difference in you. Or how your good choices helped you in the end.
Remember, it's not all about punishment, it's about teaching (remember disciple).
My hat goes off to every Mom reading this. Our job is among the most challenging! Every day our heart walks out the door and we pray for it's return. Hopefully, some positive discipline will make your job (and their lives) a lot better.
Thank you for reading and Happy Mother's Day!
Adapted from "Positive Parenting" by Natalie Chandler. To read the entire article go here.
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville