Recently a parent I work closely with mentioned:
“It would be interesting to hear some data/facts on how harmful NOT disciplining your kids can be.
So many times we focus on the negative effects of discipline – spanking, timeouts, etc., but what’s easy to forget is just how dangerous it is to take a backseat to parenting your children.”
(NPC members: click here for the video training module I just posted in our community, in direct answer to this member’s comments and questions. If you are not a Ninja Parenting Community member but would like to become one, click here.)
The short answer is, NOT disciplining your kids is every bit as harmful as using negative discipline (spanking, verbal threats of aggression, etc.)
Both are forms of neglect.
Not disciplining – failing to establish any boundaries or communicating any behavioral expectations – is neglectful because the parent fails to share a clear understanding of what behavior is okay, and what is not. This is frightening and makes the child feel unsafe.
Negatively disciplining – implementing the rule of law, without taking into account any of the child’s thoughts, abilities, or preferences – is neglectful because it contains no warmth or loving kindness.
There are three styles of discipline:
- Passive, in which there are no boundaries and no expectations
- Authoritarian, in which all is cold control, with no sense of loving or acceptance, and in which the child has no say in their own decisions
- Authoritative, also called Wise, which sits somewhere between the poles above, bringing in loving/acceptance, and firm limits/behavioral expectations
Which was used most by the family into which you were born?
To me, this is the absolute bedrock basis of whether a child wins “the parent lottery,” or loses in that lottery.
If your family of origin adopted the passive parenting style, very likely you felt adored. But also as if there were no rules, which may have made you feel unsafe.
If your family of origin adopted the authoritarian parenting style, you may have felt as if you were ruled with an iron fist. You may even have felt unloved.
If your family of origin espoused wise parenting, likely there were important rules in place – “in our family we respect each other, that’s why hitting isn’t allowed” – while you probably also felt a warm and loving vibe from your folks.
So often, abuse or neglect runs in families.
If that happened in your family, I am SO sorry.
No one should have to go through that.
If I had my way, no one would lose the parent lottery.
Everyone would win it.
How will you help your child win the parent lottery?
Whichever describes your experience best, it’s important to know that if you didn’t like it, you are free to make a different choice for your young child.
Making that change requires an important first step, which is to look your experiences full in the face – and understand them for what they really were.
Don’t let the abuse or neglect that you may have experienced happen in turn to your children.
Help them know that you love them, that you value and accept them for who they are.
At the same time, expect good behavior from them. Establish the boundaries necessary to communicate your expectations.
This doesn’t require any degree, and it doesn’t have to be super inconvenient or time-consuming.
The families I work with, once they start experiencing the benefits of positive discipline (which is the discipline style in which you lovingly AND firmly help your child keep their own bad behavior in check), enjoy the time they spend with their children more.
They feel connected, and in a wonderful loving place.
They also feel confident, that they can establish and uphold boundaries and expectations.
They often express surprise at how quickly their child’s behavior improves.
It’s at that point I always think to myself:
Winning the parent lottery… It’s as much a win for the parents, as it is for the kids.
Thanks for reading!
Keep reading below for What’s up on the podcast/In the Facebook group/in NPC…
Wishing you a wonderful parenting week!
What’s up on the podcast this week:
Have you been hearing some concerning words out of your young child’s mouth, as Halloween approaches, about death and/or killing? We dive into why kids might talk about those topics, and how to raise a kind child, in this week’s episode.
Click the link below to listen!
What’s up in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group this week:
This week’s Magic Words for Parents (a series I’ve been doing Mondays since 2018) is all about “a mantra for raising kind children.” Come check it out.
Click here to join the Facebook group (or jump into the group if you are already a member)!
What’s up in the Ninja Parenting Community:
In addition to the “Parenting-Style Smackdown” video module that I discuss above, one mom of an only child gets support from not just me, but another community member as well <3
(If you’re not a member yet, but want to become one, click here.)
PS – If you’re enjoying this Weekly Parenting Newsletter, click here so you can sign up to receive it in your inbox, or forward it to a friend who needs a parenting boost today.