Today’s topic: The old and new styles of discipline.
Many of us were raised in the old style of discipline. It was largely based in fear and punishment. Here are some characteristics:
1. The adults have authority based in fear because the kids are afraid of getting in trouble.
2. When the kids get in trouble, it’s unpredictable, and the punishment often takes away something that is precious to the kids.
3. Even if rewards are involved, the discipline is based in fear because the kids are afraid they might not get the reward.
4. Kids and adults struggle for power. If/then is often used in the struggle: “If you do this, then you’ll get in trouble. If you do this, then you’ll get a reward.”
Here’s an example: The kids fight. A vase is broken. The adult yells and tells the children to go to their rooms and that they can’t go to their friend’s birthday party. The adult is furious about the vase and never forgives the children. The kids are furious and never forgive the adult for missing the birthday party. The empty shelf where the vase once was reminds them all of the hurt.
Here’s the new kind of discipline. It’s based in love and learning (this is what I teach):
1. Self-regulation (calming techniques) are taught and used so the family feels safe.
2. Feelings are talked about so the family feels loved.
3. Values (revealed by the feelings) are regularly discussed and guide decision-making.
4. Kids and adults work together to support each other in problem-solving and reconciliation when needed. Instead of a struggle for power, the family works together so everyone “wins.”
Here’s an example: The kids fight. A vase is broken. A calm adult helps the children talk about their feelings. The adult may also talk about their feelings (without blaming the kids). Values are discussed, like this:
“In our family, we value self-regulation and problem-solving.”
“We value our hearts — our feelings teach us our values — that’s our conscience.”
“We value our bodies — our bodies are made to love and be loved.”
“We value our house and the things in it, so we try to take good care of our things.”
“We have individual values — what are yours?”
So then, based on their values, the adult works with the kids to reconcile their relationship with each other. They talk about how they would like to handle the situation differently next time (to use the steps above during conflict). They work together to clean up the broken vase, and they pick a plate from a cabinet to go on the shelf in its place. They celebrate and admire the placement of the plate. The plate reminds them of how they work together as a family. Everyone feels safe, loved, and respected.
What do you think? How were you raised? Does any of this sound familiar?
The new kind of discipline does not come naturally. It takes a mentor. I mentor you, and you mentor your kids.
To schedule a free 30-minute call with me, use the Contact page on the website so I can text you.
Share this with someone who’s ready, who’s looking for a different way to raise their kids.