My mom and dad were “old school” when it came to parenting. What I mean by that is when I did something wrong I was yelled at or hit because of it. Sometimes I was hit with a hand, sometimes with a belt or spoon. My parents thought they were doing the right thing; they were disciplining me. It’s what their parents did to them so, you know how that goes.
This did not work for me. I did not like or respect my parents for their method of discipline and rebelled against them any chance I got. To this day I get tense whenever I hear someone yelling at their kid, and when I see one being slapped it makes my stomach turn. It feels like such a violation and lack of self-control.
The definition of discipline is “punishment inflicted by way of correction and training”. Punishment, in one form or another, has been used as a means to control people throughout history. It’s not difficult to see why; it’s the easy way out.
It takes little to no thought to raise your voice or hand, and, on a superficial level, it’s usually pretty effective.
Pain, whether physical or mental, motivates people. Most of us run from pain and will do anything not to feel it. But using punishment as a manipulation tool is harmful, to say the least. Not only does it break a person’s spirit, it creates fear, and fear creates all kinds of problems.
We see fear sitting in the driver’s seat every day, all over the world. On a large scale it’s what propels corporate greed, war and terrorism. On a small scale we see it in our own lives and those of our friends and family, who always seem to be in some form of conflict.
The people I have learned the most from were the people who were the most patient with me.
They are the ones who took the time to teach me right from wrong. They didn’t yell, raise their hand or call me names. They didn’t make it personal, meaning they didn’t make me wrong or bad because of what I did or said.
Instead, they mentored me. With kindness and gentleness they showed me, either through example or with words, how I could have done better. They asked me thought provoking questions like, what motivated you to do that, how did that make you feel, how do you think he/she felt when you did/said that, and what could you do differently next time? And then they listened to me.
I learned to trust these people, and that made me want to please them. I wanted to be a better person and do the right thing so they would be proud of me. Little did I know, in the process, I was finding something inside of me I didn’t know existed. I was finding integrity.
Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you KNOW he never will. ~John D. MacDonald
Anybody can be a disciplinarian, but being a mentor takes time and patience.
The road less traveled always seems like the harder road, but I don’t know a single person who took it and was sorry. Speaking of being sorry, how are you at apologizing to your child? Do you? Can you? Read my next article; Your Kid Needs An Apology and sign up for future Raisin’ Kids blogs below!
Denise Barry is the award winning author of the children’s picture books “What Does the Tooth Fairy Do with Our Teeth?”and “Soap On A Rope.” Her middle grade book “Sweeney Mack and the Slurp and Burp Competition” is in the works, so watch for that! Denise is also an inspirational writer whose work has been featured on various websites including best-selling, self-help author Karen Salmansohn.