The major discipline tools for all ages are
- Correction (The Boundary)
- Consequences and Restitution
If you have only empathy/compassion without the correction, then you have an empty discipline toolbox indeed. All three parts are needed to have a functioning toolbox to help guide children into becoming healthy adults who can have functioning relationships, families, and jobs of their own.
Children may protest boundaries, but yet it is ours to lovingly hold boundaries until are children can internalize the boundaries and hold them for themselves. Only providing a child with compassion or empathy, and no boundary and no consequence, will not help a child internalize that. Many parents I work with will protest this and wonder why we need boundaries at all, but boundaries are where I end and you begin. Boundaries are what enable healthy relationships; they enable us to be able to take our responsibility for things in life but also to not hold things that are not ours to carry. We can help our children attain this, using all three of these pieces.
If boundaries are difficult for you, then it may be hard to teach it to your children and hard for you to hold boundaries. It may be that nothing short of hurting someone else deserves a boundary. However, there are many tools children need to function in the world that involve more than just not being able to hurt someone, and boundaries are there to help develop these qualities. We want children to know who they are, what they are responsible for, how to intiate and maintain loving relationships. Because in the end, you are not raising this child for yourself. You are raising this child for all of humanity, and for this child’s future family. Sometimes, this means uncomfortable growth for both us and for the child. And that is okay.
Always and ever growing,