Well, it’s finally here. Up to this point, I have heard only myths and far fetched tales, but the day has finally arrived – the day my daughter starts testing her boundaries, seeing how far she can push things and discipline becomes an issue. There have been glimpses of this impending doom in the past, but I was quick to dismiss them a blurbs or hiccups if you will – well my head is out of the sand now! As Parents of strong willed children can attest, the moment their child realizes they have a “voice” and that their “opinions” should be listen to, is day we all greet with timid anticipation. Predictably, my daughter will cross that line and will need to be dealt with, but how best to discipline a child can be such a sticky and divisive topic of conversation when seeking advice from other Parents.
I would never presume to tell another Parent how to discipline their children – to each their own, but recently, during a line crossing session with my daughter and after consulting numerous resources on how best to cope, we came across a great quote by L.R. Knost. She so eloquently says, “Discipline is helping a child solve a Problem. Punishment is making a child suffer for having a problem. To raise problem solvers, focus on solution not retribution.” This quote hit me like a ton of bricks! All this time, while trying to adjust my daughter’s behavior through punishments (or consequences as we call them in my house), I was degrading and in many cases, inhibiting her, from actually addressing her problems.
As adults we are well aware of the need to have effective problem solvers in our society, but how many of us realize that learning to problem solve should begin at such a young age? Whatever your child rearing philosophy is, I would hope that it’s every Parent’s wish that their children be well adjusted individuals, and being able to problem solve is a key component in our children’s development. Now, I am not saying that my daughter doesn’t suffer the consequences of her actions, but now, I make more of a concerted effort to address the problem or the source of the behavior before summarily issuing my edicts. And you know what I have uncovered? That more times than not, by simply addressing her grievances, we can forgo a lot of the other associated drama and for me, that’s a win-win!