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Disciplining Children

Anne Frank, at the age of 13, said, "Parents can only give good advice or put their children on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." As parents, we want to teach our children what we believe is the correct way. When our child has done something they shouldn't, even if it was a big deal, sometimes we forget that the incident is not the defining point of our kid's character. It is one of many. It is easy in our anger to forget the child as a whole person who has so many good qualities and to focus on what needs improvement, rather than good traits that should be strengthened.

We often get so caught up in the complexity of the moment that we forget that it is one incident in a child's life which will not define who they are or will be. Before reacting to our children, it is good to take a few minutes and try to think about how consequential this incident will be five years from now. Don't misunderstand me, it is very important to discipline children and give them very clear boundaries. When they overstep those boundaries and they will, it is important to be firm. It is fine to be angry and it is normal to be disappointed. Our reaction to these feelings, however, is critical to raising confident and healthy children.

The way in which we speak to and treat our children becomes the voice of their subconscious and also the way that they will treat themselves. If children feel shame and unloved upon doing something wrong, they will not really evaluate themselves and their actions. They will only either do anything to be on their parents' good side or completely rebel, while feeling awful about who they are in the process. Getting children to do what we want by making them feel bad about themselves is manipulation. When the feelings of love are cut off, it is harmful to the growth of children.

Before speaking with your child, it is very good to take a minute by yourself and connect to the love that you have even while angry or disappointed. The child will feel this immediately. Tell children why you a angry, hurt or disappointed in their behavior, rather than expressing anger, hurt or disappointment in them as a person. It is important to differentiate between these two things. We all make mistakes and sometimes big ones. This should not interfere with the love and support children get from parents, especially during the disciplining process. Children can be and feel deeply loved and supported at the same time that they are being disciplined or punished. It is part of unconditional love. To find out about methods to improve these skills, book a session today.

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