The Truth About Effective Parenting
When I’m working with parents, as we’re discussing some possible responses to kids’ misbehavior, they will often sigh and tell me just how hard it is, or how much work it is, to keep calm, not get angry, and think big picture about the situation. I wish I could disagree with them. It is hard and often thankless to keep your eye on the prize of the long-term goal, not just an immediate end to the troublesome behavior.
When I was a kid, I saw a notepad on my aunt and uncle’s fridge that read “If raising kids was meant to be easy, it wouldn’t start with something called labor”. I often tell people this little story when we’re working together, because it gets a laugh and helps us to keep things in perspective. We all knew that raising kids was going to be challenging — the problem is, we couldn’t appreciate just how challenging it was going to be. And sometimes, oh my, it would be nice if something about it was a little less taxing than it actually is.
The thing about democratic parenting and logical consequences in particular, is that they may be disruptive to you, too — as disruptive as they are to your child. The root of the word “discipline” means “to teach”, and any teacher will agree that it requires forethought, planning, flexibility, creativity, and patience to communicate the lesson at hand. Effective parenting is labor intensive for everyone involved, and it is going to require some hard work on your part, no doubt about it. Just don’t feel that you’re “doing it wrong” or that there must be an easier way if you feel like you’re as affected by the consequence as your child is. When it comes to raising great kids, you’re both in it together.