Old habits are hard to break – this is true for our children and true for us. In my family coaching ministry, I propose to make 2018 the year to tackle some of our parenting habits that are not working long term. I say long term, because sometimes parents only look at the immediate benefits of a particular parenting practice. And believe me, I can relate, especially when it comes to discipline practices. I mean, I raised 7 children, with an age span of 10 years and let me tell you, crowd control was big on my list. If a method of discipline offered immediate results – namely, stopping a behavior I wanted stopped, then I used that method without thought for any long-term ill-effects. I often lived in TODAY’s moments, because I was often overwhelmed TODAY. Can you relate?
Dr. Becky Bailey, whose quote is in the meme below, specializes in early childhood education and developmental psychology. She often writes about the dark side of fear-based discipline. This is true for all children, but even more so for our children who experience any of the 6 risk factors for behavior issues. By inadvertently triggering the stress response in our children by our discipline method, we disconnect from them and become their adversary, not their ally. Children who are in fight, flight, or freeze mode are stuck, and can not process that we are trying to do right by them – what they actually experience in their bodies is that the very one who is supposed to help, is actually hurting and scaring them. Of course we don’t want that for our children.
I have been able to identify some wrong beliefs I used to have, which fueled my own fear-based parenting, back in the earlier days of raising my children. Each of these ‘myths’ could have a blog post all their own, and I might try to do that in the future. For me, these were religious beliefs that I had just accepted from the Church, but never examined on my own. I am content knowing that I seek to forsake man-made doctrines which don’t really reflect a biblical perspective.
*power grabs: child tries to take power from parents and parents job is to prevent that from happening at all costs.
*a child’s will is rebellious and must be broken by parents.
*spanking removes rebellion and increases obedience.
*not spanking leads to more rebellion and bad behavior.
*Instant obedience to parents leads to instant obedience to God.
The good news is that there are corrective methods you can employ to guide your child’s behaviors, which do not lead to disconnection with your child. In fact, TBRI has some amazing ideas for shaping behavior which actually lead to more connection with your child. Watch this short video as Karyn Purvis of TBRI describes one such technique, called the I.D.E.A.L. response to your child’s behaviors. I am available to coach you on this method, if you want to incorporate it into your own parenting.
I welcome your thoughts and comments!