According to the developmental milestones of children, there will always be a time when they will try to test and push their limits. As mums, we are a constant target of this “testing”; and while it is normal, it makes pa
renting challenging. No matter how hard or trying they get, we have the great responsibility of disciplining them.
Such responsibility also makes us more prone to making the biggest discipline mistakes. In the New Beginnings Progressive Parenting talk last June 25, Life Coach Pia Nazareno-Acevedo mentioned some of Jame’s Windell’s 10 Top Disciplining Mistakes. Yelling, Nagging, Physical Punishment, and Coercion were among the items named; and whether or not we are conscious of it, it’s no surprise if we’re guilty of more than one item on the list.
Sometimes, we think it’s okay because it’s how our parents raised us and we turned out fine. Other times, it’s really the only thing that works. Maybe it’s even just what comes out of our mouths (or hands). What we do and why we do it could also be out of exasperation or frustration, just to get that point across.
Does it make us bad mums? Most definitely not. We are only human after all, and we are stretched beyond our limits caring for our kids. However, it does not justify the means to the end. Coach Pia suggests alternatives to these mistakes and how to handle specific situations.
For instance, instead of demanding immediate compliance from your child (ie Do it NOW!), talk to him in a firm, respectful tone, and then praise and reward good behavior. It makes sense, if you think about it, people of any age don’t respond well to demands and find it disrespectful.
Another common mistake is taking out one’s anger on the kids. The reaction may have been triggered or provoked by something in your own past, but the children do not understand this. As a result, they are hurt and confused. If this happens, Coach Pia suggests a heartfelt apology and an explanation. If it happens a lot, then it is a sign that you must tend to your own needs and get some much-needed breathing space.
For most mums, it takes a variety of these disciplining tactics to make things work. Yelling for instance can be effective when used for emergency situations such as stressing danger (Look out for that car!). If it is overused though, the child will learn to tune it out. Yelling does not change any behavior; rather it makes the child more hostile.
Children are also capable of doing things, which can embarrass you and them in public. Oftentimes our gut reaction is to shame them back or belittle or make them feel inadequate. As mums we need to be extra careful about the things we say, especially if we don’t mean it, because it may stay with them for a long time.
There is definitely no one perfect way to discipline a child. There is also definitely no one perfect mum who doesn’t encounter problems and pitfalls in their disciplining methods. What is important is that we recognize them and try to correct them before it’s too late.
Belonging to a community of mums with different experiences and points of view can help with all of the tips and troubles mentioned above. The New Beginnings Community, a group of progressive mums can provide such a venue. All of us mums have our own disciplining styles, and we can learn from other mums in the community as well. We can modify our own techniques to better suit the changing needs of their families. What’s more, the New Beginnings Community can also be a place where mums can get that much-need “me time”.
If children see that we make the effort to be better parents, they will follow us and be better behaved as well.
Other sources: http://www.theologic.com/oflweb/raise-em/tenmist.htm
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