The hallmark of gentle discipline for me is to always treat the child with dignity and respect. The goal of any discipline situation is to maintain connection with your child and to also GUIDE your child. I do not advocate spanking, yelling, bribes, threats, or time-outs. There are MANY, MANY other tools to use once you understand the consciousness of the small child (and this is different than an adult consciousness!) I do not believe the small child is a miniature adult with less experience who just needs to be talked to in order to become reasonable. Talking, reasoning and explaining would often work with another adult, but frequently not with a small child!
My view of the child is that the child under the age of 7 lives in their body, so to approach discipline through ACTION (on your part – less words, more being there, more doing yourself what you want them to do as they will imitate you!). I also believe in holding the space, giving time and waiting for a response, for boundaries to be set and stuck to, setting priorities for what you engage in with your child (what is important in your family? Do you have a family mission statement?), having a strong rhythm with lots of outside time to carry you both and the use of lots of humor, play, imagination and movement.
The most important piece of discipline is YOU. What inner work are you doing to improve yourself as a parent? If you were in business and you had a goal to accomplish, you would lay out a plan of action in order to meet that goal. What action plan do YOU have to become a more connected parent, to become a better observer of your child, to make your home a more calming place? This blog is not about spoon feeding you, but giving you tools to inspire you in your parenting!
It is VITAL that you understand normal developmental stages and have realistic expectations. Having unrealistic expectations and not understanding that the child has NO relationship to time yet (this is where that rhythm comes in!) and not understanding that YOU need to slow down a bit when your children are small leads to many cases of parental anger.
There is hope! Start reading below and start on the path of being a more mindful parent!
THIS IS NOT AN ALL-INCLUSIVE LIST OF POSTS ON THIS BLOG! Please look under the categories in the category box for more! This is just a sampling!
WHERE TO START IF GENTLE DISCIPLINE IS NEW TO YOU:
DISCIPLINE AS AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP:
This is “Command, Don’t Demand” (I don’t know why the link shows up the way it does!) http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/20/getting-past-fear/
If you have a favorite gentle discipline post that is not on this list, please do leave it in the comment box so I can add it!
Thanks and love,