Take a Parenting “Selfie”

Readers of this blog have been invited to explore some of the key principles of effective discipline using the image of a report card. Summarizing these principles gives us a snapshot of these principles.

The whole “Selfie”

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

Parents and caregivers can benefit from becoming aware and intentional about adopting the:

  • Five “C’s” – Calm, Clear, Confident, Compassionate and Connected;
  • three “D’s”- owning the right and responsibility to Deny, Demand and Delegate; and
  • three “ F’s”- being Fair, Firm and Flexible when they discipline.

Each of these elements of our Effective Discipline Report Card has its own principles and nuances and individually needs to be modified and adapted to meet the unique needs of each parent, child and family.

Your own “Selfie”

Today I’d like to invite parents who may be applying the principles and approaches of this Effective Discipline Report Card to do their own personal “Selfie” with regard to each of these. Unlike the Selfie one takes that shows outward appearances, this is a Selfie that looks deeper into the inner being of a parent.

When interacting with children, the elements of the Effective Discipline Report card require outward behaviors reflective of that element. When disciplining, each requires a level of personal commitment to owning and modifying behaviors as needed to ensure the preservation of the child’s emotional and relational health.

Parents can benefit from considering the degrees to which they own and honor each of these elements for themselves as ways to promote personal self-discipline, self-care and the promotion of self-esteem and self-confidence. Parents can consider the degrees to which they:

  • can experience a level of calmness about their inner self as well as their worth in the world. How calm are you in your deeper, inner self?
  • are clear within themselves about who they are and what is important to them. Do you feel a high degree of clarity about who you are in the world, your family and within yourself?
  • are confident about their right to be who they are and to continue to grow, both as parents and as people separate from that role. How confident are you at that deeper level?
  • are self-compassionate, able to appreciate and forgive themselves on those occasions when they make mistakes, revert to old behaviors and realize they need to learn more. Are you kind to yourself and understand that perfection as a parent and as a person is an unreachable and therefore unfair goal?
  • are connected, not just to their family members and others in the world but also within themselves to themselves. To what extent do you feel a sense of inner harmony with all the dimensions that make up who you are, both as a parent and as a person?
  • can deny succumbing to their own inner demands to live only in the moment without taking responsibility for consequences. To what extent do you have a strong inner mechanism for knowing if and when you need to deny an urge that ultimately is not healthy or helpful to you or others in your life?
  • make reasonable demands within themselves. To what extent can you be self-motivating and have strong follow-through, both as a parent and with regard to building and maintaining your own personal mental and emotional “hygiene”?
  • can be comfortable delegating responsibilities to others, knowing that is not a sign of weakness but rather of strength. To what extent are you able to determine if and when it would be fair and reasonable for you to delegate something to someone else, whether it be a child or an adult in your life?
  • are fair in setting reasonable expectations with regard to what they can and cannot do. To what extent are the expectations you have of yourself fair and reasonable? Are these expectations imposed on you or ones you have chosen freely on your own based on self-awareness and self-knowledge?
  • can be firm with themselves, able to manage their emotions, and to establish and achieve fair and reasonable goals for who they are and who they want to be, both as parents and as people. To what extent can you maintain an inner firmness with yourself that provides the limits and boundaries that protect you from being overly self-indulgent or excessively impulsive?
  • can simultaneously be flexible in their inner world, as they work to promote high levels of emotional health, allowing them to also experience high levels of relational health. To what extent can you recognize when you need to be flexible, willing to modify decisions you have made about yourself once you learn more or gain a new perspective?

Inner self-discipline can lead to higher degrees of safety and security because.

This occurs when a parent knows how to set limits and establish boundaries within themselves When working on these core inner elements of self-discipline, parents become even stronger role models for their children, showing that they not only apply disciplining principles and approaches to the child, but also to themselves.

Invitation to reflect:

  1. Consider each element of the Effective Discipline Report Card — five “C’s”—Calm, Clear, Confident, Compassionate and Connected, three “D’s”–owning the right and responsibility to Deny, Demand and Delegate and three “ F’s”—being Fair, Firm and Flexible. Are there any that you may struggle with? Are you clear about why?
  2. How can you grow as both a parent and a person when you consider taking a personal “selfie” and what specifically might help you with these elements that can promote personal emotional and relational health?
  3. To whom can you turn to explore each of these in greater detail?
  4. Are there other parents in your life who might benefit from your assistance in promoting clearer and healthier effective disciplining approaches?
Diane Wagenhals, Director of Institute for Professional Education and Development, Lakeside Educational Network

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