The First Step in Effective Discipline

I read a blog from Greater Good entitled What Happens to Kids When Parents Fight. It is an excellent article and well worth the read. You can read it by clicking here. The author notes that children pay close attention to their parents’ emotions. They carefully observe their parents’ interactions and determine how safe the family unit is based on those interactions. Dysfunctional FamilyFour tactics parents use in fighting are destructive to our children’s sense of security in the family: verbal aggression, physical aggression, silent tactics, and capitulation. These four tactics harm children.  In addition, conflict left unresolved leaves children feeling insecure.  On the other hand, when parents avoid these four tactics as they argue and resolve their disagreement, children actually feel more emotionally secure after the argument than they were prior to the argument.  So, the arguing is not what harms your children. How parents argue has the potential to harm or help. All of this background leads to my favorite quote in the whole blog:

“…many child behavior problems can be solved not by focusing on the child, or even the parent-child relationship, but simply by improving the quality of the parents’ relationship alone, which strengthens children’s emotional security.”

The first step to well-behaved children is improving the quality of your relationship with their other parent. Develop a relationship marked by respect, honor, and acceptance. Resolve conflict in a healthy way. Admire your spouse’s abilities. Acknowledge your spouse’s wisdom. Express gratitude for all your spouse does. These actions will lead to better behaved children. If you and your children’s other parent are separated or divorced, you can still treat one another with the same respect, honor, and acceptance. You can still create a relationship with your co-parenting partner that will increase your children’s sense of security and safety. It’s the first step in effective discipline. It’s a crucial step in guiding your children toward maturity!

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