Not to stir up old family drama or anything, but hand me a spoon… Think about a time you were disciplined when you were your child’s age. How do you wish your parents would have handled the situation? How can you discipline better?
Looking through the eyes of our Younger Self
I remember my mom bursting through my bedroom door while I was minding my own business, yelling “Jennifer! Why did you…!?!” There was no better way to make me blurt the first excuse that came to mind (true or not), put my back up, and give me a heart attack – all at the same time. For this reason, nothing makes me feel like laughing and crying at the same time more than bursting in on my kids and seeing them have a heart attack.
It’s incidents like these that I remember how it felt to be in their shoes. Taking the time to view the situation from my inner child’s eyes made me more patient and understanding.
Looking through the eyes of our Parents
Most parents do the best they can with what they have. No matter how well they did, they probably feel like it wasn’t enough. How many times do you wonder if you’re doing enough – even though you don’t know how you could possibly do more?
When I became a mother, and for about the first eleven years, I would call my mom and apologize for putting her through whatever my first born just put me through.
Looking through the eyes of our Significant Other
We all made those silent promises to ourselves. You know the ones… “I’m never going to do that to my kids” or “I won’t ever say that/do that to my kids”. My husband and I made decisions about how to punish our first child together. We both were mildly surprised that our parents disciplined us differently. We were able to identify what we felt was unfair toward our significant other. In the end, we picked the punishments we found most “cruel and unusual”, and agreed not to use them. For example, my husband remembered getting his ears pulled or flicked when he acted the fool. Me, I’m sensitive about the vast distance my ears stick out from my head, so I forbid ear pulling as a form of discipline.
Another thing we have to keep in mind is how our significant other will feel and possibly react to the discipline we instill on the child. I can throw a temper tantrum and rain chanclas on my kid’s parade, but it hurts me deeply when my husband so much as raises his voice at them.
Looking through the Eyes of God
Our children are a gift from God. Think of all the scriptures revealing God’s special love for his little ones, and you’ll find that His love for your child is the only love that will ever surpass your own. Our children are our sacred duty, and we have a spiritual responsibility to respect them as people deserving of every human dignity. How does God the Father wish us to discipline His children? With LOVE. Always with love.
All parents have obstacles… ok, EVERYBODY has their own unique blend of obstacles to work through in order to find peace of mind. We all carry our own crosses, but parents have the added burden of our hearts wandering around putting rolly-polies in their mouths and chicken bones down the laundry chute (don’t ask).
What I’m trying to say is that mindfully looking at a difficult situation through another’s eyes might give you the understanding and strength to discipline without losing your cool.
‘Course assessing WTF situations “mindfully” isn’t quite my discipline default mode, but practice, practice, practice! And my kids give me loads of sh… uh… practice!