Have you ever seen a small child go down to a pond and throw rocks into it? Kids can do that for hours, partly because the big splashes are a sign of their impact. They are the ones causing all the commotion!
How does throwing rocks into a pond relate to what happens at home? If your little child can get big ‘ol you all upset, your upset is the big splash for her. Your upset makes your child feel powerful. Now, don’t get me wrong, her reacting this way does not mean she hasn’t a conscience and will grow up to be a criminal. It’s just a normal childhood feeling: Having all that power temporarily rewards – or feels good to – the inferior part of the child.
Parents I coach who tell me, “It drives me absolutely crazy when she eats her dinner with her fingers! Why does she do that?” have already answered their own question. She may do that because …it drives them crazy.
An important rule, then, is this: If you have a child who is doing something you don’t like, get real upset about it on a regular basis and, sure enough, she’ll repeat if for you.
When it comes to discipline, you want to be clear, concise, and calm. So, what I recommend is that you apply my “Less Talking, Less Emotion” Rule. This point is critical to your effectiveness.
For some parents, turning off the talking and emotion is as easy as turning off a faucet, however for others, they have to bite their lips to get the job done. Have you ever seen that T-Shirt that reads, “Help me. I’m talking and I can’t stop!”?
What else can help? Learning a simple, effective method of discipline that doesn’t involve a lot of talking or emotion. The more you can fall back on a system the better; you’ll be less likely to fall into the same old “talking” rut again and instead, just follow the step-by-step statements.
Get started with a solid system.
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