This is a public service announcement. Adults and parents everywhere are being advised that your children *will* get upset, say unkind things, act in ways (that you consider) unreasonable, want attention from you when you are either unable or unwilling to give it, and do many other things that is generally considered "poor" behavior - and (this is the important part) - they will do this REGARDLESS OF YOUR PARENTING STYLE.
Yep, you heard me right. (And you heard it here first! Right?!) It doesn't matter if you are an attachment parent, an authoritarian dictator, a spineless pushover, or 2012's Super-Mom of the year - you will have to deal with behavior that is unpleasant and (seemingly) undesirable.
So the question is, what are you going to do when faced with the inevitable? What kind of human being are you going to *choose* to be? Are you going to get out of your comfort zone and try something new, radical, and different? Or are you going to do what everyone else does, what was done to you when you were a child, what you think you "should" do?
I keep hearing people say that "parenting today is what's wrong with the world" and that "children today have no discipline" and on and on. What if when our children struggle they were met with true love and compassion and actually LISTENED to? What lessons would they learn? How would they react when others were having a hard time - if that is what they experienced? What if when our children behave in a way that makes us angry or uncomfortable or is just plain inconvenient, *we* are the ones who actually need to learn a lesson and change our behavior?
FYI - punishment isn't working. If it was we would have solved these issues by now. But maybe these issues aren't "problems" and maybe they don't need to be "solved". Maybe these are all learning opportunities and when we try to open our hearts, even as we feel them contracting, we will learn even more than our children.
Listen, I get it. It's HARD sometimes to do the loving thing. We get annoyed, and have needs and feelings too. But we are the adults and so we must commit ourselves to acting as such. And when we make mistakes or behave poorly ourselves then we admit it and try to do better. That's what children are here to do. To be children and to show us how we can be better.
The answer is always love. It always has been and always will be. We all know it deep down inside too. Stop being scared - scared of the future and what your child *might* be tomorrow. Start loving the person they are in front of you RIGHT NOW. I promise you won't regret it.
7/30/2012 08:53:35 pm
I love all of my children, and when they act out and are disrespectful, I am loving them by punishing them, and teaching them that there are consequences to their actions. I would need more information as to how you teach your children that their negative behaviors need to have consequences...then I might understand better. I am all for a more peaceful existence, believe me. I guess I just don't understand how just listening to them without ever doing anything about their behavior is helping or teaching them.
7/30/2012 09:32:07 pm
When punishment doesn't work, it's most likely due to lack of consistency. Like Megan said, children need to punished when they disobey; they need to be taught about the consequences of their actions (good and bad). And the punishment needs to hurt (either physically or mentally) for it to have any affect. And punishment needs to be given out of love. Yes, I do believe there are parents who do not punish out of love, but out of anger and annoyance, and I do not agree with that.
7/31/2012 12:36:34 am
Your second paragraph makes me question why you think punishment and discipline doesn't "work." It clearly worked in your child.
i don't have a lot of time and much has already been said (or is on my blog, if anyone's interested), but i just wanted to say that i have 2 teens (one nearly an adult) and many friends with grown or nearly grown children who have been raised without punishments or rewards of any kind and are all beautiful, responsible, compassionate, loving, respectful, curious, vibrant people who are contributing members of society and community. it absolutely "works" and children most definitely learn about the impact and consequences of their actions naturally and without emotional damage or damage to the parent child relationship this way. i gave a conference presentation in may on a related topic that says all i have to say on this topic:
Thank you so much for taking time to comment and chime in Lyla! It is so valuable to hear the perspective of a parent of older children, and I really appreciate you contributing to the conversation here. I have learned so much from you and other families that share your experiences and am so grateful that there are people out there willing to share.
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.