Discovering Breakthrough Parenting
We worry about our kids all of the time. We hope, that they will have happy and fulfilling lives. Sometimes we plead, push and pressure our kids to perform in the ways we think will lead them to their happy and fulfilling lives. Sometimes this backfires and creates family conflict, resistance and rebellion. This is a positive parenting approach that creates closeness in families, reduces conflict and prepares children to be happy, successful, competent, independent and loving adults.
A New Model for Parents
Parenting has most often followed one of two basic approaches.
The first approach can be called the authoritarian parent. This approach is characterized by a emphasis on compliance. To create this compliance there are many rules, strictly enforced. Of course, this compliance can be achieved given enough attention and coercion. The cost of this compliance can be great. When this approach is successful it can leave our children fearful, depressed and without the habit of thinking and problem solving for themselves. When compliance is demanded, but inconsistently, it leaves our children fearful just the same, but also more inclined to rebellion and disregarding our concerns.
Another common approach is the permissive parent. This is a "hand's off" approach, based in the believe that children will naturally find their own ways to a happy and fulfilled life. When the parent is completely successful at being permissive the child will lack the guidance she is needs. Our children want this guidance and when it is absent they will fell unloved and unworthy and will often act out in dramatic ways to gain our attention. More often we are not able to be completely consistent as permissive parents. In times of stress we will return to the authoritarian approach and leave our children feeling fear and resentment.
A new model, Breakthrough Parenting developed by Jayne A. Major, PhD., focus on nurturing the maturity, independence, shared responsibility in our children so that they will become adults that take full responsibility for their own thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and outcomes.
Discipline and Punishment
There is often a lot of confusion between punishment and punishment. Bringing clarity to this topic will help parent more effectively assist their children as they come of age.
Punishment in the physical and emotional pain that we bring to control our children. So all of those efforts that we apply to force our children through intentionally inflicting pain is punishment. The harsh words, the pokes, slaps and spankings. The difficulties arise when we realize that even while we may be gain the compliance that we desire we are also setting up resentment, rebellion and withdrawal.
Discipline on the other hand encourages all parties to examine what has worked or not worked in a given situation. When we discipline our children, we teach them to accept responsibility for their actions. The natural, everyday realities of cause and effect become our greatest tools for instructing our children in the ways of the world. If you spend your money, you don't have any left to but the next mew thing that you can't live without. If you don't do your homework you will not be ready for the test and your grades will go down and you will need a tutor to bring them up instead of being on the baseball team.
Everything that is important has consequences and when we don't take care of our responsibilities in a timely way, we will almost always pay a price. Our opportunities and options in life begin to decrease and the weight and burden of our daily life increases. As adults we know that this is so. As parents we can let the natural, everyday realities of cause and effect teach our children too.
Cultivating our Children's Success
We don't just leave our children high and dry to suffer the consequences of their choices. That is too much for most any child. Instead, we train them to recognize negative consequences before they happen and to make better choices. We also walk them through the process of accepting the realities and consequences of their choices. The earlier we start this process, the less pain our children will suffer as they learn these lessons.
To help our children succeed, we want our children to be inner-directed. So many people are outer-directed, yearning for, dependent upon the approval of everyone else. Their boss, their friends, and their spouses. But successful, independent and happiest people are inner-directed, knowing what they value, what is important to them, their goals, and their intrinsic value as people. No one can take this away from them.
We want our children to full, satisfied and competent adults with the insight and skills to live their lives. Creativity, independent thinking, being adaptable and flexible, and able to manage the ambiguity and paradox of the world. Even today, corporations are looking for these people since there are so few that fulfill these competencies.
We do not determine our children's destiny. We do not make them happy or sad, rich or poor, professionals or skilled workers or anything else. In the end they live their lives themselves.
For a short time we are their stewards. We are protector and guides. We have the opportunity to prepare them for their lives as adults. We can begin today to help them practice decision making, problem solving, thinking and planning. We can stand with them as they make choices and to help them see the consequences of those choices so they will be ready to choose again.
More Positive Parenting Books
Parenting is tough. All of us have our own "war" stories. Tell us yours.