Is Your Discipline Too Tough, Too Soft, or Just Right?

Is Your Discipline Too Tough-

Kids are struggling these days. There is more confusion about life, more depression and  anxiety, and more behavioral disorders than ever. The pace of life keeps us scrambling and not as thoughtful as we would want to be.

We tend to parent from a confused place of anxiety rather than a place of intentional confidence.

Sometimes we become authoritarian and nag, push and take hard lines. We impulsively remove favorite privileges and possessions hoping to teach kids “their lesson.”

And sometimes we are too permissive. We fear our toughness will push kids away so we tip-toe around anything that might hurt or disappoint them. We bring forgotten homework or lunch money and do things they can do for themselves just to avoid conflict.

What Does My Child See On My Face In Times of Discipline?

What Does My Child See

Our faces. They say a lot to our kids. Before the first words roll off our tongue, we’ve already begun communicating.

Studies show that between 60% – 90% of all communication is nonverbal, with 55% related to the face alone.*

Take a common scenario like your child leaving a trail of food, wrappers, or toys. What might go through your mind at a time like that? “I’ve talked to him about this for weeks, numerous times a day, and nothing has changed! This place is constantly a mess!”

With all that going on inside, it’s sure to show up on your face. Your facial expressions may be sending messages like,
“Child, you are a disappointment.”
“Child, you are hopeless.”
“Child, you are a walking mess!”

The faces we get in return from our kids confirm those discouraging messages have been received. What do their faces often show us? Perhaps some fear. Maybe anger. Or the one that gets many parent’s blood boiling: defiance!

Standing Strong in the Authority My Kids Need

A Kind but Firm Approach to Parenting

Standing Strong in the Authority My Kids Need (1)

Knowing when to stand firm as a parent and when to extend mercy can be a difficult challenge, and can leave your kids feeling confused about your authority.

Have you heard yourself say these things?

…That is not ok, do you understand me? How many times do I have to tell you?

…If you finish your chores, I’ll get you a bowl of ice cream.

…Ok, I’ll let this go this time, but next time there will be a big consequence.

…My child never listens to me!  

If you often find yourself backing down or offering bribes when you feel you should stand firm, you’re not alone! Taking charge of this dynamic requires more than just a, “Be the parent – don’t give in so easily” mindset. If it was that simple, you wouldn’t still be questioning yourself.

Consider a couple strategies to help you develop the loving authority your kids need:

A “kind but firm” approach: empathize and give clear choices

Use a calm and respectful tone when you address your kids, and let them know you understand what it’s like to be them. Then offer two “you can…” choices with a clear boundary. This combination might look like this:

“I know you are tired after school and love to relax and play, I often feel that way after work. So you can choose to get your chore out of the way and then play, or you can play now and do your chore before dinner. But it must be done when you come to dinner.”

If they give more pushback, give more empathy, but don’t change the request. No deals.

[If you would like more details about consequences, check out the in-depth appendix of our book Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart.]

If this sort of approach is new to your kids, they may fight it before they understand that you won’t change your mind. Stay calm and just let them know repeatedly that you understand but you won’t be hooked by their emotional drama, and your boundaries are firm. Once kids sense your confidence, they are far more likely to respect your authority.

When “kind and firm” doesn’t work, or your child doesn’t respond, it could be worth a look beneath the surface.

Introspection: What’s going on under the surface?

There is almost always more going on in habitual conflicts than meets the eye, and it could be your kids know that in spite of your firm approach, you are still not feeling confident and resolved about your own authority.

Parenting is rooted in a combination of personality, experiences, and beliefs about our kids and ourselves as parents. Turning a few stones of self-awareness has proven to be helpful to many parents stuck in negative patterns.

If any of these issues (or others you identify) cause you to feel timid when trying to discipline, this isn’t a “stand tall and go get ‘em” lecture! It’s an encouragement to access God’s grace and truth for you and your kids. Below you’ll see some hurtful beliefs with which you might identify, and some helpful truths that you could use to replace them.

[Part 1] Standing Strong in the Authority My Kids Need

A Kind but Firm Approach to Parenting

 

Standing Strong in the Authority My Kids Need (1)

Knowing when to stand firm as a parent and when to extend mercy can be a difficult challenge, and can leave your kids feeling confused about your authority.

Have you heard yourself say these things?
…That is not ok, do you understand me? How many times do I have to tell you?
…If you finish your chores, I’ll get you a bowl of ice cream.
…Ok, I’ll let this go this time, but next time there will be a big consequence.
…My child never listens to me!  

If you often find yourself backing down or offering bribes when you feel you should stand firm, you’re not alone! Taking charge of this dynamic requires more than just a, “Be the parent – don’t give in so easily” mindset. If it was that simple, you wouldn’t still be questioning yourself.

Libro Grátis: Disciplina que conecta: El manual

Spanish Translation DTC (1)La familia es importante para Ud. (sino fuera cierto, no estaría visitando esta página). En el día de hoy el criar hijos que sean respetuosos y responsables es más difícil que nunca y si los padres no están preparados, sus hijos a menudo pierden respeto y niegan los valores y la fé de sus padres.

Para ayudarle a ser el mejor padre que pueda ser, Connected Families ha creado su primer libro electrónico en español llamado Disciplina que Conecta. En el libro, Ud. aprenderá cuatro principios poderosos que le ayudarán a mantenerse estrechamente conectado a sus hijos cuando los disciplina con confianza y amor. Los padres que aprenden estos principios nos dicen que:

  • Las relaciones con sus hijos son más fuertes que nunca
  • Sus hijos son más respetuosos y responsable
  • La gracia y la verdad de Jesús son una parte más natural de la vida familiar.

Si esto le parece bien, entonces descargue y lea este libro grátis. Una vez, Ud. haya llenado este formulario corto, Ud. recibirá instantáneamente acceso a este manual. También Ud. será añadido a nuestro correo electrónico semanal en inglés que se puede traducir fácilmente al español usando “Google Translator”. ¡Dios los bendiga en la crianza de una familia conectada!


Top 10 Most Viewed Posts in 2016!

Top 10 of 2016

We are so honored to serve you and equip you in your parenting journey. Thank you for trusting us! We always welcome your feedback and stories from how you are integrating our resources into your family. We pray there is a little something for all of you to challenge and encourage you every time you read our content.

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2016!*

10. Don’t Punish Your Child’s Nervous System – Understand It!

9. Can Family Meetings Really Work?

8. 12 Misbehaviors and the God-Given Gifts Behind Them

7. An Open Letter to the Cincinnati Zoo Mom

6. How I Got My Kids to Obey Immediately…and Why I Stopped

5. When Kids Want it NOW!

4. The New Problem of Entitlement

3. Restitution Consequences

2. Your Kids: Responsible or Spoiled?

1. How a Pipecleaner Can Stop Your Child’s Meltdowns!

*In descending order, based on number of page views on our website.

How I made huge parenting progress with less effort

Often, there are “lightbulb moments” that occur when parents come to us for coaching. Here is a great story shared by one client, Jerry, about his own epiphany regarding what it meant for him to be a father. You’ll be challenged and encouraged by the surprising turnaround that happened from one simple but deep insight that occured during coaching. He realized what changes he needed to make in his parenting to experience the relationships he longed for with his kids.

How I made huge parenting progress with less effort.

Jerry explains:

My wife and I were in the midst of a Skype session with our coach Chad. We were discussing issues regarding the way I have responded to my children’s misbehavior. As we were talking, I reflected on my own father and the relationship that he and I had when I was growing up.

Creatively Teaching Grace to Misbehaving Kids

How One Dad Used Technology To Teach Important Truths

Big picture thinking is important when it comes to parenting.  It is so easy to get caught up in the moment with your child’s misbehavior, responding in knee-jerk fashion to attempt to get a certain behavior to STOP.  Sometimes, our swift discipline does make the misbehavior stop. But, does it teach grace and result in a child’s changed heart or in a deeper understanding about the way actions affect others and his/her relationship with God?

As parents who hope our children will walk in love and truth, we would do well to consider: How do I want my child to view God when she messes up?

Transitions: It’s Time To Go

And Your Child Wants to Stay

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Does this sound familiar?  Picture yourself standing, hands on hips at the front door saying (maybe loudly, even): “C’mon, kids. It’s time to go. Kids…. Kids…. It’s time to go!!! You need to listen to me! Get moving – NOW!” Does this pattern repeat itself every time your kids need to make a transition?

It can be tough for some kids to simply come to a meal or come in from playing outside, let alone get organized to get into the car. The busier your schedule, the more times you have to get your kids away from what they are doing and on to the next thing. Since these transitions become the “bookends” of each activity in your day, they tend to create repeated patterns of either teamwork or power struggles.

How to Get Kids to Care about School & Grades

Without Nagging

Over the years, Lynne and I have worked with many families who struggle with the same issues. Time and again, we see how a change in perspective can transform a parent-child relationship from one of tension to one filled with grace. When it comes to school, grades and performance, there is often a minefield of conflict over expectations. Parents often believe that they need to create change in their child to see improvement in work ethic and performance when it comes to grades. The truth is, change best starts with the parent.

How to get kids to care about school and grades

Read on to learn how one mother and daughter set aside conflict and embraced grace for homework success without nagging:

Misty anxiously told me about her seventh grade daughter, Greta.

“Her grades are tanking! She’s sassy and defiant most of the time! I know she is capable of so much more, but she won’t dig in and live up to her potential. I check her grades every day. I’ve withheld privileges, created charts, offered rewards, and constantly reminded her. But it keeps getting worse. Our fights get louder by the day!”

When you’re constantly fighting with kids who don’t live up to their potential, we suggest a new approach, a new fight: the fight of faith to walk in the “fruit of the spirit.”