Disciplining misbehaving kids is often a difficult and emotion-laden task. Our oldest son Daniel, sometimes said to Lynne, “Mom, you just bursted all over us!” And he was painfully right. Jim had his share of quick, harsh reactions as well. Those were discouraging times for all of us, and we wished we knew how to get unstuck from that negative pattern.
We began applying our professional knowledge to develop practical strategies that helped us become calmer and more effective when disciplining. As we “field-tested” these ideas in our own family, we were equipped to help thousands of parents defuse their explosive reactions as well.
Parents who learn to calm themselves before disciplining usually find they are much more effective as they access their wisdom and good intentions for their kids. We suggest that parents stop, breathe, and get perspective. But what does that look like? Here are six practical ways to “get perspective” as you calm your heart for discipline that connects with your child’s heart.
Getting an education is a tremendous privilege. Most parents recognize that future opportunities are built on many layers of learning that happen during the school years. That’s why when kids make poor choices at school, either behavioral or academic, parents usually get pretty upset. If we are honest, it’s mostly because we think our kids’ bad judgment or irresponsibility reflects poorly on US! But really, their behavior is THEIR “report card” and not ours. As school approaches, take some time to prepare your children to be responsible for themselves this school year.
In our kitchen, there is a huge dent in the floor. I see it every day. It is a reminder to me of the day in which I learned something important about myself when it comes to discipline. It was a day when I saw myself in my son’s eyes and saw what I was communicating to him in a very tense moment. When I look at that big gouge, I can feel my emotions rising, and I feel… love? Yes, love. Here’s the story.
Parenting is a beautiful gift. It can also be some of the toughest work you’ll ever do.
As we work to “train up our children in the way they should go,” sometimes it’s hard to keep focused on the big picture. We get angry. We get tired. We get frustrated. We default to our old, controlling ways over and over. It may seem like we’ll never be able to change.
But with God’s help, change is possible.
Jody Morris | Flickr
Jesus said that “smart carpenters” build a sturdy house on solid rock. Then when the storms of life hit, nothing will move the house.
This doesn’t mean storms won’t pelt the house from time to time, and even inflict some damage. It means the house will stand strong, able to endure even the most ferocious of storms.
When I extend this metaphor into parenting, I realize that before I get too worried about the “house” of parenting skills, I need to build a strong Foundation.
Alan Turkus | Flickr
Recently in our online course a parent asked the following question:
I see the difference you’re talking about between typical parenting and parenting with the four messages in mind… and I like the difference I see… here comes the BUT… what about when you are pressed for time and have to get out the door and your kiddo won’t comply in a timely manner?
When you became a mother, you likely pictured images of you and your children frolicking, playing, creating and bonding. You probably didn’t have visions of yourself with your face beet red, eyes bulging and words that you thought you’d never say spilling from your lips.
But here you are, ready to pull your hair out! You’re not sure how you even got to this point or how to find your way out of the rut. So you make promises to yourself to keep your cool, to be more patient, to practice deep breathing techniques. Only to pick up the pieces after you’ve blown it… one more time. You know you are capable of so much more than just “holding it together,” but you just can’t seem to get there.
Recently we heard this awesome story of sibling conflict resolution from a family we know, and we thought we’d share it with you! Enjoy!
We have three children – a 12-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 8 and 10. Our sons – Henry and Sam, respectively – were going through a period of hassling with each other frequently, and it was significantly affecting the overall vibe in our home. We decided to teach them the Connected Families steps for peaceful reconciliation. We called it “the peace process.”
Photo Credit: akurtz iStockphoto.com
There are some days when I wake up with a knot in my stomach and questions in my mind. Maybe you’ve been there too. The questions go something like this: “Am I doing this parenting thing right? Are my kids going to choose to follow Christ?”
The questions can stem from a negative tone or sour attitude in a child’s response, disrespectful sibling conflict, or my own grumpy and sinful disposition. If left unchecked, those questions, those thoughts, can start me in a downward spiral resulting in FEAR and ANXIETY. One thing I’m quite sure of is this: I am not a very good parent when I parent from that place.
My mind wanders to worst case scenarios, projecting typical child and teen behaviors into soon-to-be juvenile delinquency. I become accusatory instead of inquisitive. Suspicious instead of supportive. Negative rather than affirming. That’s not the parent I want to be! And sometimes I cry and beat myself up and wonder how God will ever redeem the mistakes I’ve made.
Parents who learn to effectively discipline misbehaving kids learn to first calm themselves for this often difficult, emotion-laden task. We suggest that parents develop the habit to “Stop, Breathe, and Get Perspective.” But what does that look like? Here are six easy ways to “get perspective” as you calm your heart for discipline that connects.