Parents desire to have loving relationships with their children so they will be trusted and their children will seek them out for support and advice.
While teaching my parenting classes, it becomes clear that well-meaning parents are resorting to ineffective punishment strategies, which hurts the relationship, because they just don’t know what else to do.
The parents are not happy with the lack of cooperation and respect that they are receiving. They are also not happy with the lack of their own emotional control and how they are treating their children.
Under duress, they can quickly resort to using the same negative parenting tactics that they experienced as children. This approach is not leading them on the path towards the supportive and harmonious family that they want.
Parents report using “consequences” (threats) such as, “If you don’t pick up your toys right now, you won’t play any video games.” Imagine how you felt as a child hearing this type of threat. As an adult, you may think this sounds like a logical consequence yet the tone, word usage, and word placement creates a threat. As a result, parents report being mocked, ignored, or even laughed at by their children with comments like, “You’re not going to take it away”.
Parents are stunned and embarrassed when their kids sound just like them.
One mother recounted how her son threatened her with “If you don’t let me play than I won’t brush my teeth.” Threats, that put fear into these parents as kids, does not create the close relationships that the parents in my classes want with their children.
In an attempt to be nicer than their parents were, they begin with “nicer” controlling strategies such as asking politely, explaining their reasoning to win agreement, and giving rewards.
This approach still doesn’t work with many children. With no positive responses with these “gentler” attempts, parents resort to unsuccessful punishment strategies such as instilling guilt, pleading, yelling, and threatening.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t work to take an obedience strategy whose success is based on instilling fear and manipulation, and then, to expect cooperation, respect, and responsibility instead. This isn’t logical.
In order to create a successful family, punishment methods must be discarded and replaced with discipline methods that teach important life skills.
Also learn: Step One in Replacing Poor Parenting Strategies
As you start making changes make sure you connect before you correct behavior.
Parents: Connect then Correct Children’s Behavior (Blocks examples and quiz on possible responses)
©2015 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Family Success Coach since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com or 650. 679.8138 to have a complementary discovery session about finding solutions to your challenges. http://wp.me/p2TgAe-No