Friday, January 15, 2010
When Mary Simmons polled her high school classes to find out what they thought was the most important commandment of parenting, the evidence was overwhelming-children (even teenagers) crave appropriate, consistent discipline. As a parent and a teacher, Mary brings her expertise to a book from which all parents can glean.
- Increase Respect
- Build Trust
- Set and Enforce Rules
- Use Appropriate Rewards and Privileges
- Deal with Temper Tantrums
Chapter 1, "You Don't Have to be Perfect" page 5
"What is Fair?
The word 'fair' can be interpreted in many ways. One person's idea of fairness will be another's oppression. For example, you may think it fair that your newly-licensed, sixteen-year-old son is allowed to drive within a twenty mile radius from home. But when his favorite band is performing sixty miles away, and all of his friends want him to drive to the concert, he thinks your rule is unfair. What you decide in this situation will depend on your assessment of several things, including your child's maturity, driving ability, and the behavior of his friends. What you decide may very well displease him. That's okay.
You can't always be fair in your child's eyes, but you can always look and sound fair. This is a skill. According to Bert, you look and sound fair in the following ways:
- The rules of the house must be known, so that everyone has parameters. Who is in charge? (You are.) What are the house rules?
- Remember the Parent Creed: 'I cannot allow you to do anything that is not in your best interest - or mine.' The prospect of your young, inexperienced driver traveling sixty miles on unfamiliar roads with rowdy friends in the car to a venue with older teens appears like an unsafe option: In your opinion, it is not in his best interest. You also know that, if you let him go, you'll be up worrying, and that is not in your best interest.
- Look Fair: Face your child and make eye contact, but don't necessarily smile. Nod and agree when you can. Show your concern. If compromise is an option (such as you driving instead), that can be discussed. Do not argue.
- Sound Fair: Use the word 'choice.' Tell your child, 'You have a choice. If you continue to argue with me, you won't be driving the car at all. I am concerned about your safety, and my decision stands.' End of conversation.
According to Bert, the parent needs to know the discussion is over at this point. The child - if there is a history of trust and consistency in the relationship - will abide by the parent's decision without a lot of fuss. He may complain (to himself) momentarily, but that is to save face, and he will settle into the caring adult's decision, like it or not. If the child acts out, the parent must be committed to standing by what he said, 'If you continue to argue with me, you won't be driving the car at all.' The child's privilege of driving the car is suspended until the parent decides otherwise."
Win your free copy of Discipline Me Right
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Contest closes January 30th.
Contest open to residents of U.S. and Canada.
Tomorrow I'll be spotlighting and giving away, The Sister Pact, by yours truly. Have a wonderful weekend,
This contest is now closed.
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