Monday, January 7, 2013

Think Twice Before Punishing

When it comes to a debate between punitive parenting and unconditional parenting, the concerns seem to focus on the child's performance.

If you don't spank him, he'll end up in jail. If she can't learn to obey, she'll go to hell. How will they learn to do a good job at work and have a career?

It's interesting that you never hear deeper thought about the inner, most important parts of a person in this discussion. If you spank him, how will he learn to avoid violence in anger? If you spank her, what will she expect from a partner when she "does something bad" in her relationship? How will they learn to expect love, respect and fulfilling connections with others and have strong relationships in their adult life?

How many mothers would think twice about their parenting methods if they saw more clearly the way their daughters internalized shame, incompetence and a feeling of inferiority that not only followed these women into romantic relationships, but crippled their equal footing in the business world and even traumatized them during pregnancy and births as they ended up choosing abusive doctors?

Would fathers think twice about the way they responded to their sons' failures if they saw their boys internalizing a sense of power, control and bullying that they the brought with them into their romantic relationships, harming their partners and children, and even took into the business world to glorify unethical business practices?

What legacy are we really giving to our children when we teach them that punishment is always the answer to failure, that obedience is the only important goal in life and that people who love us are supposed to hurt us for our mistakes?

When it comes to discipline, think deeper about the messages you hold in your hands and voice. These messages will resound in the hearts and minds of your children for a lifetime.

For helpful pages, websites and more of my posts on discipline, check out this list:

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