Welcome back! Hope your Super Bowl pick won. If it was the Falcons, I truly feel for you and them. Most. Amazing. Comeback. Ever. And what a catch by #11 Julian Edelman–I mean, how was that catch even possible???
Belief. Drive. Determination. Motivation. Grit. (A miracle or two doesn’t hurt either…)
That’s what won Super Bowl LI for the New England Patriots.
And those same qualities are what parent(s) need to apply to “the journey.”
Anyway, this should have run last week, but I somehow messed up scheduling the post. Hope you’ve had some time to digest last post’s discussion and are ready to delve in a little further!
Disclaimer: Please remember, these are my thoughts on these concepts, based on my parenting experiences. I do not equate myself with the title “expert.” I do, however, hope to be of service to others sharing this journey, by relating my experiences and what I’ve gleaned from them to date. (Not sure we’ll ever be out of the trenches, and that’s okay too! 🙂 )
I ended last time with this thought: Respect for my children—and for children and teens in general—is something that helps guide me in the process of discipline.
Back to Dictionary.com: Respect has multiple definitions, but I chose those that apply to this essay.
As a noun, respect is (1) esteem for, or a sense of, the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability; (2) deference to a right, privilege, privileged position.
As a verb: (1) to hold in esteem or honor; (2) to show regard, or consideration for (i.e., someone’s rights); (3) to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with (i.e., a person’s privacy).
I won’t declare I’ve always practiced respect in all my parenting decisions. I can’t aver that I inherently understood what it means to show regard for my children’s needs. I am, however, blessed by having internalized early on that a little person (and/or an older child) does have feelings that need to be considered.
This notion hit me very clearly one day, when my older son was about eight months old. We were on some multi-errand run and probably on, at the very least, our sixth stop. This means the little guy had already been dragged in and out of his car seat eleven times. Now mind you, my mini-man had always been fine with being in the swing or bouncer or stroller for as long as I needed him to be or was willing to go. As I strapped him in for time number twelve, he started crying.
Chances are, I was initially irritated with his reaction, but luckily, compassion clicked in and it hit me: This boy is tired. He’s had enough and shouldn’t be subjected to dealing with his mother’s inability to slow down.
I’ve read parenting books—God knows, they abound—and then beat myself up over not being a ‘good mom’ because I couldn’t make the ideals depicted in those books happen. Luckily for me, a close friend (and mom) often reminded me that if there were ONE way that worked, there’d be a lot less books on the topic. (My favorite: Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging, and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate, by Elizabeth Pantley. I also remember browsing a bit through George M. Kapalka’s Parenting Your Out-of-Control Child: An Effective, Easy-to-Use Program for Teaching Self-Control. Thought I might gain some wisdom for dealing with my younger, somewhat anxious, reactive and much-more-of-a-challenge son. BTW, if anyone is interested, he’s often available through Lent. I’ve been known to give that one up every now and again. 😉 )
Back to my point:
I learned, by reading those parenting books, that discipline is a form of teaching, as well as a form of living.
My job is not to make my kids do what I say (controlling), but to guide them to make the best choice available at any given moment (discipline).
Hopefully, they’ll exercise good judgment up front. If not, one could hope they take advantage of the ‘opportunity to learn,’ assuming the consequences of their action(s) aren’t overly devastating or life threatening in any way. (Elizabeth Pantley deals with how to use natural consequences—or create logical ones—very nicely in her book.)
This segues me to the old adage, Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.
When I fight for my way, or for that instant response to what I tell my kids to do–for no other reason beyond I want my way (Gasp! Controlling again!)– I’m not teaching them to fish. By guiding them to make wise choices today, I can only hope to be laying a foundation to make even wiser choices as they get older, especially when they’re in a position to make (big) decisions without someone more experienced at their side.
We’ll pick up next time with the fruits of discipline.
Any thoughts on all this so far? What have you learned on your journey relative to authority and kids? No, you don’t have to be a parent to join the discussion. All kinds of interactions count (i.e., those of teachers, psychologists, baby sitters, etc), so don’t be shy!
With you on the journey,
©Joanne C Timpano, 2017, content and images (unless otherwise specified).