After my discussion with Mona Delahooke on my Raising Good Humans Podcast last week, I was thinking about how important it is that each of us take a moment to ask ourselves this question: What is the goal of our discipline? Or, said another way, do we want compliance or do we want to teach self-regulation skills?
Here are some things to consider:
Many of us have different views around the purpose of discipline. Only you can decide what is right for your family. We may even have conflict around our discipline goals in our own mind! On a tired day, when we are feeling particularly stressed or vulnerable, we may need compliance. On another day, when things are calmer and we are more present, we may choose to focus on connection, and helping our children to make good choices and feel understood as they move through the world. That’s normal. We need tools in our toolkit that are conflicting, so that we have what we need, when we need it.
Self-regulation is a long-term goal, and that’s not always going to give us the satisfaction of compliance. Compliance is about doing something because someone demands it. Having the ability to self-regulate helps children to be self-motivated. It’s no secret that my preference, from my lens as a developmental psychologist, bends toward connection. That does NOT mean that there are not plenty of times in my parenting when compliance wins.
Finally, remember that whenever you’re listening to parenting advice on discipline – rather than thinking one way is the right way, think about the tools being delivered as representing one persons’ goal. That means you have to then compare that persons’ goal with your own. What feels like a fix for one person isn’t right for another. This is a journey, and there are no shortcuts no matter how much we would love them!
Thanks for being a part of Raising Good Humans. We are in this together.