Yelling, punitive timeouts, force, threats.
The more I punished, the more my kids misbehaved. I kept upping the ante thinking that I needed to be firmer or more consistent.
Finally, I realized that harsh consequences and punishment would not create positive behavior changes within my children. I had to ignore well-meaning but ill-informed advisers who suggested that children need punishment in order to learn good behavior. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I love this Abraham-Hicks quote:
“…It is that feeling that you've done this to me, so I'll do this to you, then you'll do this to me, and then I'll do this to you. And what happens in that is: It just gets bigger and bigger, and bigger. And no one ever wins. There is no triumph that ever comes from any of that.”
So the cycle goes. The parent yells and the child yells louder. The parent spanks and the child becomes aggressive with the kids at school. Back and forth the swirl of pain gets larger and larger until eventually, the parent-child relationship lacks love, trust, and respect.
The act of inflicting pain and suffering upon your child is not the way to cultivate good behavior.
Yes, I know that most adults today were raised on punishment. Many adults today even credit their success to a good spanking. But as someone who works with individuals who grew up with trauma and abuse, I assure you that there is a better way.
Children need leadership, structure, guidelines, and limits. They also need safety, respect, and love.
I was assisting at The Remembrance Course, a personal development course that is offered through Your Infinite Life Training and Coaching Company. At one point, Jeff Everage, co-founder of Peace in Your Home, kindly and firmly proclaimed:
“It stops with you”.
He was referring to destructive behaviors that have been passed down from parent to child, generation after generation.
Jeff was not speaking to me. Yet, I took his demand to heart. If the old way stops with me, the new way starts with me too. I vowed that not only would I raise my children in environments free of harshness and punishment, but that I would work in my community to teach other parents about how to address challenging behavior in a peaceful, respectful, and effective manner.
Many parents repeat the actions of their own parents. Even if they set out to do things differently, when triggered, they find themselves speaking the words or acting out the behaviors of their own parents. All parents find themselves here at some point or other.
The truth is, it can be incredibly challenging to refrain from exhibiting our own poor behavior when our kids act in maddening ways! Yet, being able to master this skill will make it far more likely that you will see the behavior in your children that you have been wanting to see.
Meaning, that when you are able to be consistently well-behaved, it is likely that your children will be consistently well-behaved too. The best discipline you have to offer is the modeling of your own self-discipline.
It starts with you.
If you want to work with some amazing coaches who can teach you how to parent without punishment, I recommend Susie Walton, Todd Sarner, and Wendy Snyder.
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