Our theme for April was once again on Conscious Discipline. We wondered together how we can be a constant for our children: creating and holding the structure, while still providing loving guidance. Below are some of my notes, take-aways and journal prompts from our session:
Don't take your child's mistake personally.
We all make mistakes. Write for 5-10 minutes and describe how you would want your best friends to act if you make a mistake.
Do you really know why your child did what they did? Sometimes understanding the why can create connection and help to diffuse any intense feelings.
The "wrongness" needs to be removed so that no matter how badly your child messes up, they will still feel like they are okay. When your child comes to you to "fess up", celebrate their bravery. If you are grateful that they do this at 4, you'll be so much more grateful that they do this at 17.
When your child is misbehaving, the first step is to remove your emotional baggage from the situation. Get in touch with what you're feeling. Identify if that's an old feeling and where it might have come from. Then stay aware of this feeling. When it comes up, recognize that it's there and that it's from the past. Know that this feeling probably has nothing to do with your child so let it go.
Consequences vs Punishments
Consequences are a natural happening as a result of an action. (Although as a parent, you may need to participate in the "natural happening" - like taking the ball away after you asked them not to throw it.)
Punishments are typically inflicted by a parent and sometimes don't have anything to do with the situation. Typically a parent chooses and also enforces a punishment.
Consequences allow for more reconnection and learning. When the consequence seems natural, it can be easier to accept and also to learn from. Because you're not "in charge", you may be able to help your child accept their consequence and diffuse any big feelings they are having at that moment.