Positive discipline is to be kind and firm at the same time. Jane Nelson (Ed.D) writes, many parents know how to be kind until they get upset. Then they know how to be firm without being kind. Putting these two together is a challenge of course. One of Jane’s favorite examples of this is, ” I love you, and the answer is no.”
Furthermore, the mother bird knows instincitively when it’s time to push her baby from the nest so it will learn to fly. If the baby could talk they might be saying, “No! I don’t want to leave the nest. Don’t be so mean. This isn’t fair!” However, we know the baby would not learn to fly if the mother didn’t provide that important push, right?!
Kind is not always nice. Many don’t know the mistakes made in the name of kindness such as; pleasing, rescuing, over-protecting, pampering, micromanaging in the name of love, giving to many choices and making sure children never suffer. All of these methods, Jane writes, creates weakness.
Parents too often want to protect their children from struggle in the name of love. They don’t realize that they need to struggle in order to deal with disappointment and solve their own problems later on in life.
It’s important that parents don’t make children suffer, but sometimes it’s helpful to “allow” them to see what will happen. Try not to add lectures, blame or shame to what they are going through. For example: “Stop crying your spoiled brat. You can’t always get what you want.” Instead, offer them loving support. “I can see this is very upsetting to you. It can be very disappointing when we don’t get what we want.” Stop at that and don’t try to further validate their feelings.
Have faith in your children that they can learn and grow from suffereing. Understand that in the short term, kind is not always nice. True kindness and firmness together will give your child the “wings” they need to soar!
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