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Calm Discipline

04.20.12

When parents spank, yell at, scream at, yank, or hit their children, they do so because they think they are “teaching their kid a lesson.” Oh, they’re teaching alright – They are teaching the kids to yell, scream at, yank, and hit others when angry. The entire lesson that the parent intended to teach is long gone.  The child is focusing on the parent’s anger, not the mistake or wrongdoing.

It is not good to “teach a lesson” by yelling and screaming at our kids.  One book I recently read teaches that, when we yell or scream at our children, no matter what words we are saying, the message is always, “CALM ME DOWN! CALM ME DOWN!” It demonstrates that we are NOT in control of our emotions, and that it is up to others to change in order for us to remain in control.

Think about when children blame others for their own actions. “It’s not my fault! He was yelling at me first!” or “It’s not my fault you didn’t wake me up on time!” or “It’s her fault – she started it (…so I had to hit her)!” How is that different than when a parent yells or screams at a child?

Wouldn’t it be great to find different, better ways to discipline children?  We have to find creative ways to discipline that do not include yelling. There are many possible consequences available. To name a few:

* Reduced television time
* Reduced play time
* Reduced computer time
* Earlier bed time
* Reduced sugary sweet snack
* Leaving an event early (if possible)
* Less allowance, or monetary fines
* Writing sentences

Calm discipline means that we are maintaining the authority in our home, connecting with our children in positive ways, and role modeling how to handle strong emotions.

Consider this great quote by author C. S. Lewis (who wrote “The Chronicles of Narnia,” books):

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Take some time to calm down yourself, before coming up with a consequence. The results will be so much better in the bigger picture: Relationship between parent and child is maintained, and role modeling how to handle one’s strong emotions is demonstrated.

Call me if you need some additional ideas or resources: 847-962-5234

parenting resources

helpful websites

  • Love and Logic
    Bestselling author Jim Fay, founder of the "Love and Logic" process.
  • Focus on The Family
    Provides parenting advice and other family issues from a Christian perspective. Founded by Dr. James Dobson.
  • TroubledWith: Parenting Children
    Resources dealing with various common childhood issues and what a parent can do.