Friday, May 16, 2014

Being firm without alienating children


I once attended a seminar that taught that each person has a "love" bucket. And when that bucket is full, he behaves well, and can overlook things, forgive, take criticism, and generally be a well adjusted person...however if that bucket gets emptied, by receiving too much criticism or from neglect or isolation, then the person begins to have issues. This is really true in children.

 The first step in helping children not feel rebellious when you discipline is making sure you are giving them the 5 love languages regularly. Then their bucket is always full, and they are malleable and teachable. When it comes time to discipline, you've got to have loved them enough to have "money in the bank" so to speak, so they don't feel rebellious and think you don't like them.

 The second step is to avoid anger as you discipline. If you are feeling angry, tell them, I need to calm down first, but then we are going to talk about this problem. Or if your child is very young and needs to be pulled out of the situation quickly, you can place them in time out while you both calm down, and then talk about it after. When you are calm and have thought about the real issues, then you will be able to be more effective at teaching your children.

 The third step is to speak with kindness even when you are being firm. It is VERY important to be firm with children and to have strong boundaries especially when they are young. This makes them feel secure. But you can keep those boundaries with a kind voice. I always tell my husband, use actions instead of yelling. If you get up and help them to obey with a kind voice, that will go a lot further toward the goal, than making them feel unloved. This method has worked really well for our children. We definitely have strong boundaries in our home that are strictly enforced, but they are enforced with kindness and love (of course we are not perfect, but this is what we strive for.  Please don't feel bad for past mistakes.  We've made our share too...we just keep on trying, just like you).

 And one last tip, we always say, "I'm sorry that you chose to lose the car for the day. I hate it when you are sad, but I know you'll do better next time." A little empathy goes a long way, but also this statement tells them that it was their choice and consequence, and not yours. A book that teaches more about this method is called, "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. It's a great book that teaches a lot about logical consequences given with love.

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