Ever feel like you are one meltdown away from locking yourself in the closet? Silently hoping when you come out, all the kids are still alive and no emergency room visit is needed.
Now, make no mistake, I do not have this whole parenting thing figured out! However, I recently read a book that challenged me to incorporate a little more calm and confidence in my parenting struggles.
Dr. Kevin Leman writes in a humorous, yet effective style that truly engages the reader. His approach to reality discipline is centered around the concept of controlling your emotions rather than having your emotions control you. As parents, we must learn to reject the behavior and love the child.
Rewards and Punishments
One extremely interesting part was his view on rewards and punishments. He simply says – they don’t work. There is a subtle but important difference between encouragement and reward. We must do everything we can to encourage our children, along with assuring them they are loved unconditionally. They do not have to perform correctly to win our favor. Love and approval based on performance is conditional. Reality discipline always seeks to love the child unconditionally.
While it is difficult to distinguish between reward and encouragement, I think it is even harder to separate discipline from punishment. Like reward, punishment focuses on the child. And like encouragement, discipline focuses on the behavior of the child. Dr. Leman states that parents who use reward and punishment as the two principal motivators of their children’s behavior are not really helping them develop a good conscience.
As I said, it is an intriguing concept. I strongly encourage you to read more about it especially if you feel you have to dangle a carrot to get your child to do anything. Ask me how I know? LOL
I highly recommend it – the book is filled with a multitude of information! Dr. Leman covers a plethora of parenting struggles. Single Mom? Blended Family? Sibling Rivalry? Allowances? Morning and Bedtime Battles? He covers them all and reminds us –
“Negative attention is still attention!”
I want to encourage you – parenting is not a path of perfection. It is filled with times of frustration and brokenness. There will be times when guilt will try to weasel its way into your mind filling you with lies of not being good enough.
In those moments expand your courage muscle to never give up! Stick to the game plan, always remembering that parenting is an exceptionally long game, and one strikeout doesn’t determine the outcome. What decides the outcome is your commitment to training your children to be responsible and accountable for their decisions.
Moms, you got this!!! Get your book today!