Escaping a Punishment Mindset
Escaping a Punishment Mindset
One of the biggest challenges’ parents face as they learn & implement positive parenting strategies … is letting go of the old school punishment mindset.
An outdated but pesky thought pattern that seems to scream at us:
“In order to make our kids behave better, we must first make them feel worse”.
Ugggghhhhh, where did we get that notion?
I don’t know … but it has definitely become our societal norm.
When we get exposed to positive parenting curriculum, we get super pumped … excited, motivated & convicted to do things differently, yet, we often find ourselves slipping back into the old “I gotta lay the law hard or else” mindset when our kids mess up & it’s time to “teach a lesson.”
After helping thousands of families over the last decade to build out strong, effective, compassionate & grace filled discipline toolkits that include:
- self-calming / regulation tools
- natural consequences
- logical consequences
… I can tell you with complete certainty that compassionate discipline WORKKSSSSS!
… but ONLY if you can escape the punishment mindset, which is easier said than done.
Some parents are able to let go of the punishment mindset easier than others, but after watching a few get seriously “stuck” over the years, I realized this is a problem that we really need to get the root of.
Tune into episode 44 of the Fresh Start Family Show for more info on this topic!
FOCUS ON THE FUTURE vs. THE PAST
When it comes to punishment vs. discipline, it’s great to start out by looking at the difference between the two.
>> Punishment is rooted in past mistakes, vengeance, payback & retribution. (i.e. his punishment of 2 years in jail sure fit the crime well, he’ll learn his lesson now.)
>> Discipline is rooted in training for the future, teaching new skills & practicing consistently. (i.e. wow, her discipline to wake up early to exercise & eat healthy every day is inspiring & sure to get her results!)
Think of your favorite Olympic Sport & the athletes who dedicate their lives to training to be the best in their sport.
That’s the kind of discipline we want to channel when we’re trying to teach our kids important life-skills like:
- Keeping their hands to themselves
- Speaking respectfully to us & others
- Doing what’s asked of them without constant pushback
- Communicating their feelings in a healthy way
- Asking for what they want respectfully
- Following rules & honoring boundaries
Train for the future, teach them “how to” & practice consistently.
This will require modeling (oh geez, this part may be the hardest part of teaching ‘how to”), creativity & time parents.
You may have to let the dishes or laundry sit, so you can spend an hour actually SHOWING your kiddo “how to” respond to his brother when he’s being annoying (vs. just slap him like he’s been doing).
Or you may have to set aside a 1/2 hour before bed to re-do the evening bath / evening routine as a way to show your daughter “how to” take a deep breath & tell how how she feels instead of screaming NO at you!
Focus on what your vision is for them tomorrow vs. ruminating about how awful they were yesterday & your fear of them never changing unless they stay scared of you.
You’ll feel empowered, they’ll feel empowered, you’ll see better long-term sustainable results by focusing on the future!