The Discipline Report Card: More on Confidence

In my previous post, I encouraged readers to embrace the benefits of feeling and projecting high levels of confidence when assuming the role of disciplinarian. This is the third “C” in the Discipline Report Card that parents can use to evaluate how effectively they are disciplining.

Disciplining is not about being a “friend”

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

There are a number of attitudes and beliefs parents need to own and project in order to have high levels of confidence when disciplining.

They include:

It is my right and duty to act in an executive capacity when my children are dysregulated or clearly lack judgment and impulse control.

Children do not have to like the rules and decisions. Disciplining is not about trying to please children, to be their “friend,” or to make them happy.

I do not have to be mean to be assertive and confident. While my children may feel I am being mean, I can be confident that I am being appropriately assertive, something that they probably won’t like.

I can intentionally assume the role of a benevolent authority when my children are young and immature.  When my children are older and more mature, I will gradually abdicate my authority. I will eventually move from being a manager of my child to being a consultant with them, as I shift in how much authority is appropriate to exert over my child.

When disciplining assertively and with confidence, I still can do all those things that promote and maintain appropriate positive self-esteem and emotional health. I can maintain closeness with my children AND maintain my executive authority. For example, I can listen, be gentle, acknowledge, love, care, nurture, accept, and understand the child’s temperament, personality, stage and typical behaviors, as well as the needs of the child and his or her wishes and feelings.

I can have confidence in my judgment as an adult. I have better, more mature judgment capabilities than my children have. I have the right and responsibility to accept this belief.  Understand that frequently children will question, challenge or refute my judgment. Their opinion of the accuracy of my judgment should not influence my confidence in that judgment. While on occasion I may make a mistake in judgment, children would make many more mistakes in judgment if given the authority to do so.

Children often think they know it all, and their confidence can be intimidating until and unless parents step back and appreciate that children cannot possibly have better judgment than their parents. Just because they are highly confident in their own judgment does not make that judgment healthy.

As a parent, this last item really helped me embrace my role as a disciplinarian who could be confident that I had better judgment than my children.

As a result of embracing this belief, I was better prepared to set strong limits and boundaries knowing I had better judgment, regardless of what my children believed about their own abilities to assess situations or demand that I see things their way.

Because effective disciplining is not about pleasing children or gaining their approval, becoming more confident in these rights and responsibilities can contribute to that all-important confidence that lets children know who is in charge and who is not in charge.

Invitation to Reflect:

  1. To what extent do I embrace the attitudes and beliefs of confidence provided in this blog?
  2. How can I bolster those attitudes and beliefs that aren’t as strong as they need to be?

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