Thursday, April 30, 2009
Discipline Exposed by Debbie Jansen
It’s time to get excited about parenting again. I know. That seems like a contradictory statement but it’s possible after reading Debbie Jansen’s new book Discipline Exposed. I have a habit of walking around the house with a book in one hand and utilizing the free hand to pick up dirty clothes, or toys that have blocked the hallway, while I read. On this particular day, I was doing this very thing while my toddler followed me around, room to room, screaming. I knew what he wanted, but there was no way he was going to stand on the dining room table and attempt to swing from the chandelier again. He was upset at mommy and mommy was upset that this, her third boy, couldn’t be reached by the methods that had worked with the proceeding two. For the moment, my life mimicked the look of the little girl on the cover of Jansen’s book. She’s covered in goo that resembles pudding gone wild and a wide eyed look, proclaiming she’s just been busted. Yep. That was exactly how my life was at the moment.
Whether you are just starting out on the parenting journey, or consider yourself an old pro, Jansen brings the real issues of parenting to the surface of our intellect, reminding us that as parents, the key to discipline is within us, not our child. It’s easy to look at an uncooperative child and ask why they won’t listen, or obey or do what we say. Jansen points out that our reasons for disciplining could be at the root of the problem. Do we discipline to control our child? Or maybe your goal is to make friends with your child. Or perhaps it’s just to keep everyone happy. In that case, be on the look out for rebellion, low self esteem issues, confusion, and selfishness in your child instead of one that can interact properly in society by making the right choices to decisions they are faced with daily.
By keeping the focus on TRUTH, and remembering that for every action there is a reaction, and by differentiating between discipline and slavery mentality, the parent can begin to see positive results immediately. By learning how to touch the child’s heart and motivating change in their inner most being the parent automatically makes the connection to seeing changed behavior. However, until the child has an impression made at the heart level, the best you can hope for in your child is that they become a follower.
It’s also crucial to understand when not to discipline. If your child is just being a child (tired, hungry, afraid) no matter the way they display these emotions, it is not right to discipline. Neither is it fair in the case of a mistake being made or a child reacting to a situation improperly. As important as discipline is, it’s imperative knowing when not to.
As I bend down to pick up my screaming toddler, I lay the toys on the floor that made it to my hand. I also place the book down and spend a minute holding my child. I talk to him, letting him know I realize why he’s frustrated but I also can’t allow him to be put in harms way by playing near the chandelier. He looks at me, wiggles out of my arms and runs to his Elmo on the floor, content in the knowledge I heard him and understood. Which is another one of Jansen’s tips-listen to your children. After seeing first hand how easy parenting can be by applying Jansen’s suggestions, I am convinced this is a successful way of relating to our children.
It's time to get excited about parenting again!
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