Welcome to Part 2 in the Parenting Discipline Series
Now that we have explored what discipline is and what it really looks like, you may be wondering what role you play in the whole thing. In part 2 of this series here, we are going to look at WHY we tend to lash out in anger or frustration when our child displays what I like to call “undesirable behavior.”
(Hint: It has to do with triggers.)
When our child “acts up,” it can trigger us deeply. There are a variety of reasons for this. First, it may spark a fear we have. Let’s say your child has gotten a bad grade on their test. This may trigger you, because it may bring up memories of when you did not do your best in school. Maybe you have regret about how much better you could have done.
Or maybe it triggers a fear inside of you. Since your child failed this test perhaps it means your child will fail this class. And if your child fails this class, perhaps it will mean your child could fail this entire school year. And if fear continues to run rampant, failing the school year could mean flunking out or dropping out of school.
Fear of being judged
And if your child fails their test, what will your friends think? Triggers galore. Surely, they will believe you are raising a future adult who will do nothing but rely on the system and kindness of others without contributing anything to society.
But is this an accurate assumption?
This runaway fear could have you worrying that your child will end up jobless, homeless and living in your basement FOREVER. Can you see how unchecked fear can hijack you? Can you see how it can rip you away from this present moment where you are having this interaction with your child and launch you 20 years into the future?
And if fear hijacks you and takes you 20 years into the future, how is that going to serve you or your child now?
This fear that has been triggered by your child’s poor grade on a test has completely altered the reality of what is in front of you.
Perhaps your child didn’t study as much as they could have. Or perhaps the subject matter is very difficult for your child. But coming down hard on your child over a test grade rarely ever helps anything. Rather, what usually happens is that it drives a wedge between you and your child.
Your overreaction shows your child that they cannot trust you with difficult subjects. As a result, maybe in the future, they won’t even come to you. Then you could be setting up a whole situation where they do something wrong or make a mistake and they feel that the only option is to lie to you and not let you know that it happened.
The Snowball Effect
And then when that happens now they’re in trouble for lying.
I know this because it happened to me with my oldest son. When he was younger, I had unreasonably high expectations for him. When he did not meet them, I got very angry and punished him. This led to him feeling that he could not trust me and did not want to share things with me. As a result, I began to catch him in lie after lie and that became a problem all in itself.
This continued until I got back to the root of the issue, which was the way I was reacting to him. Once I was able to completely shift the way I was responding to him when he made mistakes or told lies, our relationship completely shifted. Now, years later, I have a growing teenager who still makes mistakes (like they all do) but is not afraid to tell me when he messes up because he now trusts me to guide him and help him to make better choices next time.
Back to our example
In the example, I created here, if you go back to the root of the whole situation it really started with your overreaction to their bad test grade. And depending on the temperament of your child, your overreaction to their test grade could trigger anxiety in them.
This could make future tests even more challenging for them. Now, they may also fear how you will react if they don’t do well. I know this may feel harsh to read or think about, especially if you can see yourself in this example. It is important to begin to look at these ways that we are using discipline. We want to be able to use it more effectively and in a way that connects us closer to our children. And we want to help guide them to become the best version of themselves.
So, the second step in using discipline in the most effective way is to look within yourself. Download my free guide to help you do just that.
In my next blog, I will be discussing how consequences factor into this topic of discipline. For now, though, make sure to download part 2 of my discipline guide here.
Related Articles: Struggling With How To Discipline Your Child?
Erin Taylor is a mom, parent coach, and author of Connection and Kindness: The Key to Changing the World through Parenting. Her podcast, Powerful Parenting for Today’s Kids is enjoyed by parents around the world. Erin was able to take the tragedy of the death of her infant daughter and turn it around to not only survive, but thrive, and help others to do the same. You can learn more about her at www.erin-taylor.com.
This article, How Do YOU Fit In To The Art of Discipline, was originally published on Erin Taylor and is reposted here with express permission from the author. Permission to repost this article must come directly from the author.
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