This week’s topic: Discipline
“Pretending that the consequences are the child's free choice — that he has chosen the punishment — is incredibly dishonest. It becomes a way to blame the child, even as he is being punished: "Well, you chose to play in the puddle, so now you have to suffer the consequences and clean everyone's shoes." Added to the anger and resentment he may feel about being punished is a confused sense of guilt that he's somehow brought this on himself. In his heart, though, he knows he was meeting the implicit expectations of the adults in his life.”
“…nor do I want to. Not that I would rather have disobedient kids, but actually…that’s closer to the truth. What? (You say.) What crazy parent would want this? To me, the word “obedient” has such a negative connotation when used in reference to raising children; it literally means to obey.”
Studies show, however, that children raised by authoritarian parents – parents who are demanding, directive and unresponsive – are the most prone to act out bullying behavior, while children raised by nurturing, warm, responsive parents were less likely to bully. (University of Cincinnati, 2008, August 5).
I'm not a big fan of sticker charts because research shows they "externalize the locus of control." To us parents, this just means that praise and rewards train children to look outside themselves for approval, instead of to their own authentic sense of what feels right.
When kids are emotionally healthy, happy and feel strongly connected to us, they're much more likely to be cooperative. So the most important way to prevent "bad behavior" is 20 minutes of special solo time connecting with each child daily, and safe opportunities for kids to express emotions (With play when you can, tears when you have to.)
What happens when I try to control my children, dictating their every move and barking out orders that I expect to be obeyed unquestioningly? What about when I constantly criticize their moves at every learning opportunity and tell them the better way to behave? When I tell them what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it when, frankly, it doesn’t matter how it’s done or really even matter if it’s done right then? Like me, they begin to feel inferior, insecure, incapable, unaccepted, unvalued, unappreciated, depressed, anxious, desperate to control anything that they can.
For parents endeavoring in positive discipline, we choose incentives over bribes and rewards, and natural and logical consequences over punishments. They are more effective than their counterparts in helping a child learn, as the parent-child relationship is not devalued, and they help a child develop intrinsic motivation.
All spanking shares several characteristics: it always involves the expression of authority of one person over another, it always inflicts pain, and the vast majority of the time it is administered in anger, or at least frustration. Essentially, it's always one person hitting another.