Key question for parents: What is your child’s attitude toward you after you finish disciplining her?
As parents, disciplining our children is part of the job. We often spend a lot of time considering whether our expectations are age-appropriate or whether the consequences we impose suit the behavior. Yet, the most important aspect of discipline can be how we finish. If our child’s attitude toward us is resentful or hard, that’s a key sign we have not finished well.
Resentment grows when a child concludes that either their parent’s expectations are unreasonable or,while reasonable, the child can never meet them. As parents, a critical part of our discipline process needs to include working with our child to address both these elements.
Parents will never be able to fully explain all the rules they impose on their children. That’s not the point. A significant element of the child-parent relationship is that children learn to trust their parent — even when they don’t understand why a parent makes a particular demand. Yet, rules that seem arbitrary breed resentment. Trust grows as parents have heart-to-heart conversations with their children to offer the rationale behind the rules.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.