Clues You May Need More Effective Disciplinary Skills

As we continue to explore the important but often complex subject of effective discipline, it might be helpful for parents to consider some of the clues that would be beneficial to them in becoming clearer, more confident and more competent when it comes to effective discipline.

Looking for clues: a list for you

Diane Wagenhals, Program Director, Master Trainer, Curricula Writer, Researcher, Mother and Grandmother

Parents can begin this process by asking themselves if they find any of the following to be true about themselves and their relationship with their children:

Do you sometimes or often feel one or more of the following:

  1. out of control
  2. angry
  3. that you are bargaining
  4. need to defend your decisions
  5. that you are frequently in power struggles with your children
  6. that you must argue your point
  7. that you can easily be manipulated by your child
  8. that you are in need of your child’s approval
  9. that you are fearful of your child’s anger, power, disapproval
  10. you feel compromised or helpless
  11. that you have a need to convince/cajole a child to get compliance
  12. resentful of your child’s behaviors or demands
  13. like you are walking on eggs
  14. unsure of your right and duty to be the final authority
  15. that your child’s needs are more important than yours and should always come first
  16. that if your child begs for something long enough, both of you know you will probably give in
  17. that your own self-esteem is tied up with your child’s outward expression of love; it seems your child may withdraw that love if you don’t comply with demands
  18. that you must do battle to get your way with your child
  19. a need for your child to appreciate what you are doing for him/her.

Each of these is a clue or signal

The list above includes clues that a parent would benefit from in gaining the many skills (as well as attitudes and beliefs) that are essential when disciplining effectively. If you see yourself reflected in one or more of these, you might go back and review some of the components of an Effective Discipline Report Card.

We also will continue this journey of exploring how to be effective when disciplining by considering ways parents can be caring and compassionate as well as fair and effective when imposing limits and consequences on their children.

And don’t despair if one or more of these items resonate with you. Having presented this list hundreds of times to thousands of parents, almost all nod in agreement concerning how it describes how many feel when parenting.

Invitation to reflect: 

  1. When you read the list of possible parent feelings above, which one or ones jumped out for you?
  2. If one or more of these is true for you, how did that realization make you feel?
  3. When it comes to imposing and enforcing consequences, how clear are you about the principles and practices that can maintain your child’s emotional health as well as a healthy relationship between you and your child?

Diane Wagenhals, Director of Institute for Professional Education and Development, Lakeside Educational Network


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