Let’s talk about a tough topic: discipline.
Many of the families in my practice come to me when they are struggling to find the best way to manage their child’s behavior.
Does this scenario feel familiar to you?:
“I’m always battling with my 11 yr old daughter over the same issues. Why can’t she just listen to me the first time? I don’t ask her for much. Is this teenage attitude already? It is unacceptable for her to speak to me in such a disrespectful way! I don’t know what to do. Nothing works.”
This story is similar to many that I’ve heard from parents of my child and teen clients.
Here’s the big secret.
If “discipline” hasn’t worked well for you, that’s a actually good thing. You may feel lost right now, but you’re on the right track.
Parents like you, who wants to teach their child respectful behavior, time management, and other vital life tools, will often looks for ways to discipline bad behavior.
As Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s book “Out of Control” explains, discipline is a common yet ineffective way of helping a child learn. Imposing discipline does not work, and Dr. Shefali provides clear instruction on what to do instead. As I read this book, I felt she was giving further explanation of what I myself encourage parents to do in my practice.
There is an intuitive and effective way to improve your child or teen’s behavior – and to protect and strengthen your connection.
The #1 Solution for Parents: Discipline vs. Consequences
There is a vital difference between discipline and consequences. Have you been guilty of using these words interchangeably? Many of us have.
Discipline or punishment actually translates into a negative and disempowering message to your child. Part of the reason for this is that a punishment is not connected to the behavior in a way that allows your child to learn.
For example, if your son won’t get off the computer at bedtime and you decide to punish him by canceling your plans to go to Disneyland, what does that teach him?
This lack of connection between action and discipline confuses and frustrates your child. The only lesson here is that you will impose random punishments. There’s also no emphasis on your child’s ability to plan better behavior the next time.
A punishment from a parent actually decreases the likelihood that a child will learn to problem solve. Natural consequences will educate your child and guide him or her toward appropriate behavior.
A natural consequences in this case is your son being tired in the morning, perhaps less focused in school, or being late to school.
Does imagining that possibility bring up feelings of worry or dread for you? Dr. Shefali also explains and identifies with the difficult nature of allowing natural consequences to run their course. To do so will require you as a parent to tolerate a certain level of anxiety.
However, consider how this approach will give you a great opportunity to support your child through collaborative problem-solving.
You aren’t casting your child out to handle this alone. You’ll be acting as a supportive anchor, rather than as an oppressor of your child or teen. He or she will learn to navigate the natural consequences of life, not to anticipate confusing constructed “lessons” from you.
You’ll also be free from the cycle of rescuing your child or teen from natural consequences or problems and feeling resentful later.
Trust that in order to protect your child, you must let the natural consequences of life be the life lessons.
For more examples of how natural consequences can help your child learn, grow, and stay connected to you and your wisdom as a parent, I encourage you to read “Out of Control.” Discipline vs. consequences is just one of the concepts that will reduce conflict in your family and help you support your child’s growth process.
I hope that reading this book will be just as much a breath of fresh air for you as it was for me.
Find the book here:
You can also watch Dr. Shefali’s engaging interview about her book on Marie TV:
Conscious Parenting: What Parents Can Do To Raise Conscious Children
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Contact me if you want to learn more about healthy consequences and ways to improve your child’s behavior.