Guest Author - Paula Petrie
Cleaning while working through a problem, helps to steady and direct ones concentration on both. Cleaning keeps you from distraction while you work through the emotions, and burdened thoughts associated with the problem at hand. So it is reasonable to say that when the need for thoughtful reasoning arises, it is a wonderful way to train ourselves and our children to do necessary scrubbing or polishing.
Brooding and nibbling seem to go hand in hand. But, this method of dealing with problems is counter-productive. Brooding is one of those negative circles, without conclusion. Nibbling encourages feelings of desperation or being out of control. When some aspect of life packs a really strong wallop, nibbling, in fact eating, becomes irrelevant. Our bodies deal only with survival.
Helping our children reason out their problems should be a normal response to their burdens. However, emotional weight stored away, unresolved or not understood, has become our way of life. We tend to look at self-control as only controlling aggressive behavior, but we need positive self-control, too. Using the virtues of self-control in a positive way, such as, the ability to thoughtfully reason is often overlooked.
In reality, reasoning out a problem can become side-railed by getting on with the business of living. And coincidentally, so does cleaning. Helping our kids by teaching them to combine the two may be something for which they will be forever grateful. Cleaning and reasoning each take discipline, maybe that is why they go together so well. Try saying, "Tidy this while thinking the situation over. We will discuss it when you are through."
From a parents perspective, effective discipline for our kids, needs thought. What do we value in human character, what characteristics would we see as assets? How do we train our children to see (and help them develop) these traits. Also, what we consider when we think “discipline” needs to be seriously rethought. The paddle is not necessary, but having children know self-control is. We can’t and really shouldn’t want our kids to do and be as we say. It is however, important that they understand and respect others, and our opinions.
Discipline guides actions when our kids are moving in the wrong direction. A strong, well developed communication link, and mutual respect are vital. Moms can’t realistically carry 15 year olds to their rooms (especially when they are kicking and screaming.) We need to create good strong ties that bind.
If a child is perilously walking on a figurative ledge you have to trust that you have a chance to reach him, (and hopefully pull him back) even if he doesn’t indicate that you have done so. Overlooked tips for helping a child develop self-discipline include:
Keep connected with your child by staying involved with the details and emotions of his life, such as knowing his current favorite song and the lyrics, his peer relationships, or his favorite teacher’s name.
Guide and subtly direct him with friendly conversation, this leaves room for explanation and reasoning, while establishing a good, healthy report.
Help his confidence by illuminating his good traits with compliments.
Tell him what you admire about him.
Help him to discover himself, through his talents and interests.
Within conversation help him find the logic and reason of a decision, then you know he gets it.
But, always pull rank when friends are making or offering bad choices. Never assume a child is capable of making an adult decision.
Forcing behavior will certainly meet with a “heels dug in” tirade at some point. Look at any two year old who’s mom has reached the point where she must insist to this child that it is time to move on. In fact, from time to time my husband and I still must force each other to “see” a point, and we still wish to react with a fit (though mature enough to squelch it, sometimes.)