Tag Archives: authority

Discipline? Absolutely, as long as it’s positive
Relationship of balance and discipline
What does the word discipline conjure up for you? Takes you right back to childhood, right? Did you like being disciplined? I bet not.

When I talk about the benefits of shared power, connection, and problem solving, parents inevitably ask, “Are you saying that we shouldn’t discipline our children?” or “Isn’t that undermining my authority?” Great questions.

The dictionary defines discipline as “using punishment to correct disobedience”. However self-discipline is defined as “train[ing] oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way”. When you discipline yourself, do you inflict punishment on yourself? A sacrifice may be necessary but only if you want a new habit more than you want the old one.

The derivation of the word discipline is “from the Latin disciplina ‘instruction, knowledge'” as in disciple. We know that children learn best when they are fully engaged in experiential instruction—not through the experience of isolation, shame or losing privileges. A mother came into one of my weekly groups with an assignment from her five year old. He said, “Mom, ask your parenting group what you should do

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Can You Be Friends with Your Child?
Mom and Son

Wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, Never be friends with your child. The thinking behind this, I presume, is that children need a parent’s authority; they do not need to be a confidante. True enough. However, does the separation of friend and parent give permission to treat children differently from how we treat friends?

Imagine saying to your friends:
“Mona, don’t eat so many appetizers or you’ll spoil your dinner. I worked hard on this meal. Don’t fill up on cheese and crackers. Fred, pick up your napkin. Where were you born, in a barn? Mona, did you hear me? Why don’t you ever listen to me? Stop reaching, Fred. Honestly, you make me so mad. Ok, that’s it. Hand over that iPhone until after dinner.”

On the contrary, it would behoove us to treat our children much more like dear friends—with respect, consideration, support, and care. We cherish our friends and put effort into maintaining trusting, connected relationships in which we listen to each other, have empathy for one another but also have good

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Understanding Shared Power

When I tell parents to share power with their child, they get nervous. “Wait, I’m the parent? Aren’t I the one in charge?” Absolutely. Sharing power means that you both stand in your personal power. It does not mean that your child has the same power that you do. You are the parent, the authority, the one in charge, and the more you are confident in that power, the safer and more cared for your child feels. It’s when you lose it, when your temper flares and you feel out of control that your child feels unsafe and confused and will react accordingly. When power is lost, your child fears what is happening and may grab what power he can.

We have a choice—we can hold the power, giving our child none, keeping the dominator model; we can give our power away when we lack confidence, are afraid of power and give our children more than they can handle; or we can share it, insuring that all family members feel confident, strong and able to get their needs met. A

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