We talk to parents about discipline a lot. We talk about our entire Connected Families Framework and how it underpins true discipline — how parents need to be safe, connect with their kids, coach them to be capable and wise decision-makers, and then help them take responsibility.
But sometimes once parents have wrestled with all this, they still ask, “Okay, so what does that look like in the heat of the moment, when my child has just done that thing they often do and we’re both on the edge of losing it?”
Well, here are three totally concrete, practical examples of ways to live out safe, loving discipline with your kids, even when the heat is on!
1. Stop to look under the surface
Whether it’s young kids or teens (or even adults!), often times there is far more going on than we realize and the conflict at hand is only the tip of the iceberg. In this video, Jim and daughter Bethany share a story of a time when they discovered an emotional iceberg right in the middle of their conflict and how they worked through it.
2. Move toward the struggling child
One mom Lynne worked with said, “The best advice you ever gave me was to move toward the child who’s struggling the most.” When kids struggle with disobedience or misbehavior we can let our exasperation take over and come between us — but actually, experience has shown us that often the child who’s struggling the most is the one who feels least loved or most disconnected. In this video, Lynne shares a story of a mom who took this advice to heart with her struggling child.
3. Do a do-over
If you think about thoughtful discipline after you’ve already blown it — or after your kids have already fought — or after your child whined — don’t worry. Just give it another go! In this short video, Lynne shares why do-overs are so powerful and how one family used a do-over to work through a frustrating car ride.