Thursday, February 25, 2010

Discipline is about Teaching

This week in class we had a guest speaker who talked to us about effective parenting. She said, "Effective parents take the time to teach and listen to their children, establish good routines, and guidelines, play with their children and speak in respectful and loving tones." Looking back I feel like this is very much the way my mother was with us kids.

With each mistake or misfortune in our lives, my mother would turn it into an opportunity to teach us. When our pet bird died we had a funeral for Nala in the backyard and talked about the plan of salvation and the resurrection. When a friend was unkind to us she taught us about the principles of forgiveness and repentance. She was always looking for opportunities to teach us. Just this week my family's cat had a litter of kittens and one passed away. My 4 year old sister Brinley was heartbroken but at the same time she was able to be uplifted and strengthened by a mother's faith and testimony that she would be able to see this kitten again.

This is the kind of parent that I want to be. One that listens with her heart and mind. It is truly not what happens but how we handle it that makes the difference in parenting. If a situation is handled in a positive way this will build up the child and teach them valuable life lessons from the very beginning of their lives. If situations are handled in negative or blaming ways then this only destroys faith and self-esteem.

In our readings Ginott teaches that children must be acknowledged and understood before their behaviors can be changed and teaching can take place. He also said, Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes a lasting impression.” I love that quote because it teaches us to think before we speak or act and that what we say and how we say it matters to our children's emotional and social development. I have noticed that insults cut deeper and last longer when it comes from the parent and this is why as parents we must be ever aware of the messages we are sending to our children in the ways that we respond and interact with them.

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