Disciplining Children or Parents?

Learning to discipline myself was the first step

The historically loaded and widely written about topic of discipline. I didn't really want to think about it, but I had to. Especially with the meltdowns.

Because after the collective meltdown, you can completely feel like your soul vanquished in the process.

We are a lot more evolved than our predecessors. Physical punishment would not even cross your mind.

You are also not wanting to mess up with the most precious assets you have a limited time on this Earth with.

For me, I started by walking on eggshells with my kids.

But I also blew up at them when I was nearly all spent.

Then reeled with aftermath guilt. The absolute last thing a working mother needs more of.

All of the parenting advice in modern parenting is centered around connecting, remaining empathetic, and helping your child problem solve on her own when there is something that goes wrong.

It is not to threaten, lecture, or be authoritarian.

Further detailed in No Drama Discipline, time-outs don't work, because the child gets even more angry after you make her sit out. You are basically pushing her away in that situation instead of staying present with her and validating her emotions.

If there ever was a time for me to be mindful with my words, it has been in parenting.

A flat no-no: If you don't go to bed, I'm not going to read you a story.

Much better: If you don't go to bed, then we won't have any time to read a magical story!

Our words mean everything when disciplining

Rather being intentional and proactive about discipline is the healthier way to be with children instead of getting into reactive mode.

The more I read about the "right way" to discipline, I was just utterly shocked at how these skills were assumed to be in the capacity of parents.

Response flexibility

Take for example, another core concept in No Drama Discipline: to maintain response flexibility. It's the idea that you will carefully react to a bad situation based on your child's age, temperament, and overall socio-emotional functioning.  

Wait a minute. How many people in the corporate world have you met who behave with impressive emotional agility even in professional settings?

What became obvious about the parenting genre in disciplining my child was that I would have to discipline myself.

It is so much more about your own emotional regulation than what your children are up to.

Tier 1 observation

On top of emotional regulation which is quite frankly not a common skill, you also have to be a tier 1 observer.

In Siegel and Bryson's The Power of Showing Up, the importance of really knowing your child has profound implications. The way that parents respond to their children, based on their idiosyncrasies, is key in fostering their resilience.

The downside of inaccurate observations of your children not only strains the relationship, but can lead to them inappropriately internalizing the wrong characterization of their personalities and intents. For example, you thinking your daughter is not good at something no matter what the circumstances are, will lead to her believing that (which is absolutely fatal to a growth mindset).

Empathy cannot be overstated

The key to success in so many areas of business (not just the customer service aspect of it) is to demonstrate empathy for the customer. It is the foundation of very effective marketing and scalability with large brands.

As simple as it seems, it is tough to do repeatedly. It turns out, it is one of the most effective strategies in disciplining children.  Siegel and Bryson make a case for extreme empathy in managing the outburst of your child. This calm and mindful method of responding reinforces a secure attachment.

Improving observational skills and empathizing with the situation is really the best anyone can do. I like No Drama Discipline's concept of HALT for its pure simplicity and accuracy.

Before reacting, I have been stopping and thinking of the child's needs that are influencing the situation

I typically HALT in front of my children. I also HALT around my interactions with adults too, thinking about what physical states are influencing their behaviors.

Even though I like productivity and am interested in being a forward-thinking mother, I consider myself a laid back parent. Parenting is not an overwhelming pursuit for me, but an opportunity for self-development. Continuous development, where you aim to be less wrong with each mistake.

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