TAMMY SASSOON, M.S.ED
Although there is so much more to parenting than how to get kids to cooperate, it is usually the first question people ask when they call to schedule a consultation.
Discipline is just one piece of the parenting puzzle, but it is a very important piece, and every home needs it in order to function in a healthy way.
Let us work with the key principle that children act according to what their parents believe about them. You can have a mother who is blind, deaf, and mute, but whatever she is feeling about her child will be sensed by him or her through the mother’s vibes.
TAKE THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLE:
Two mothers each have eight-year-old boys with tons of energy. Mother A gets excellent cooperation while her son remains very energetic in a healthy way. After all, biology and temperament are natural, right? Mother B’s life is a nightmare. She cannot get her son to follow a single instruction in the house. After all, biology and temperament are natural, right?
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Mother A believes that every single child is capable of being respectful, regardless of energy level, so she is experiencing that respect with her son. Mother B, who worries that maybe her child is not capable of being respectful, will see that he is not respectful of her. Mother A feels relaxed knowing that every child has a unique place in the world, and she simply looks for effective parenting strategies to help her son utilize his tremendous amount of energy in a positive way. She reads books and consults with experts from time to time. Mother B is so worried about her son that he feels her worry vibes, and then starts to believe that he is a source of worry to his family. This stress causes him to act in ways that his mother believes are appropriate for him.
When our children misbehave (both children and adults do make mistakes sometimes), we need to remain calm, even amidst the pain we may feel, so that they get the message that mistakes don’t define people. We want our children to always remember that they are a piece of Hashem, and their misbehaviors are nothing more than a poor choice.
Each moment is a new fresh moment, so never interact with your child today in a way that shows you are stuck on the mistake they made yesterday.
I can personally attest that I have never met a client whose children were incapable of accepting authority and limits. There is a wealth of information on exactly how to set the limits, but that’s for another article. Before you even learn any strategies, make sure that your mindset is in check with healthy thinking: Every child is capable of being respectful. No exceptions. Set limits with love and confidence, and watch where it takes your family.