Bad Daddy, Good Daddy

Through both sad and happy experience, I have learned the following things with regards to being a parent.

Parenting methods that do not work:

  • Spanking
  • Yelling
  • Threatening
  • Discomfort
  • Scare tactics
  • Soap in the mouth
  • General pain
  • Endless lecturing

There are those that argue that these methods do work. Granted, they do get reactions and are sometimes effective temporarily. However, the side effects of using these methods are negative and usually undesirable for the parents as well as the children. These methods are usually easier and quicker and come more naturally. As we know, nature is not always the best way. Animals live in nature. Our children deserve parents that are not animals. Parents who use and endorse these methods are little more than children themselves as is self evident in the actions taken which when compared to actions of children are very similar.

Parenting methods that do work:

  • Patience
  • Really listening to what your child says verbally and through body language
  • Putting yourself on their level, physically
  • A kind voice, with perhaps a touch of sternness when necessary
  • Gentle touches, with perhaps a bit of firmness when necessary
  • Concise statements of fact and direction

These methods do work better and have much more desirable long term results and positive side-effects. The major drawback to these methods is that they require parents to actually grow up. To effectively employ these methods, parents must learn how to control their emotions, as well as their bodies.

The key difference in the methods that work and do not work is the person that you are concerned with.

When you are concerned about yourself, your time, your schedule, your plans, your happiness, your stuff, your live, what others think of you, this is when you are more apt to revert to being childish and use method that do not work. Children throw tantrums. Childish adults who have not grown up in this aspect of their life also throw tantrums.

When you are more concerned about the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical well-being of your child, you are more apt to employ methods that do work. You show that you are truly “grown up” in this aspect of your life when you are able to handle parenting situations calmly and with full control of yourself.

To put it more succinctly, the main difference between what works and what does not, is love and who the target of that love is. Selfishness versus selflessness.

Please feel free to share your own parenting wisdom in the comments section.

5 thoughts on “Bad Daddy, Good Daddy”

  1. Heheh, you had me.

    I’m familiar with a few discipline methods and the Positive Discipline approach just seems to be the one that would most effectively encourage children to be responsible, while also helping them feel secure and loved.

    Our school pushes Love & Logic, but when we had a certified trainer come teach the parents how they should be doing things, what she advocated seemed neither loving nor logical. For example, when a kid is yelling at you, she said if you’ll simply answer with nonsense words, the child will be confused enough that they’ll back off. But while that might get a screaming child to shut up, I’d think it would alienate them as well.

    Positive discipline would be something more along the lines of, “Wow, I see you’re upset about this. It’s always harder to solve a problem when we’re angry. Why don’t we both take a few minutes to cool off so we can find a good solution.”

    Which might sound cheesey. But it gives you a chance to remember you’re the parent, you’re the one who needs to behave like an adult, and the child needs love and direction. In my experience, an answer like that, followed by a hug and a reasonable chat, is SO much better than any of myriad of ways we attempt to control a kid, and also much better than any knee jerk reaction.

    Positive Discipline is not about manipulating a child into doing the right thing. It’s about empowering them to make good choices for themselves.

  2. What some people call “cheesy” is just different than what they are used to or scary to them for some reason. Perhaps they feel insecure. I find that so many of the things that we do in life come from feelings of insecurity. When we are self assured and confident we usually are a lot more positive as well as open to the thoughts and ideas of others.

    Knee-jerk reactions usually mean that you are allowing yourself to be acted upon. That is of course, our choice. We can choose to act, or be acted upon. When we choose to act, it usually means that we are calm enough to think clearly about the situation and the actions that we take are usually much more productive.

    Using positive discipline with my children, in nothing else, certain feels a lot better inside than negative discipline. If I leave the discipline table feeling like a bad parent, that is a good indicator that the method(s) I just employed were less effective or just plain wrong.

    I agree that children need to be empowered. I have recently noticed that with Jarom (our second), he seems to be feeling out of control. Perhaps because he is the second and younger than our oldest. The older child has more privileges and enjoys pestering the younger one. The younger one can often feel helpless and resorts to tactics like spitting in order to fight back. This is similar to an animal that has been backed into a corner. They feel out of control and they are more apt to do anything it takes to get out of that corner.

    Since I have noticed that in my second child, I have been keeping an eye out for ways that I can empower him. To help him feel like he has some control over his little world. To help him feel that he has options and choices so that he does not feel the helpless need to act out.

    It has been my observation that acting out is a symptom. A symptom of a problem that is not necessarily related to the situation at hand.

    Here is a quote that you are probably familiar with. “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.” I think this is or should be the goal of every parent.

  3. We get that alot with Mary too. Ethan is usually quite kind to her, but she’s insecure because she compares herself to him. Her ‘acting out’ usually involves ignoring him when he’s trying to talk to her / play with her. She also wrote him a ‘hate note’ recently too. Ethan answered back with a note that simply said “…” When we all sat down to talk about it, we figured out the root was jealousy… Ethan’s “fridge” pictures apparently outnumbered hers. Easily solved. We also discovered she felt like her dad was comparing them, and was disappointed in her and pleased with Ethan. That one takes a bit more work, but we’re trying.

    re: cheesiness. I always feel cheesy myself and I’m sure it’s that I’m not as secure as I should be. But it’s alright, feeling goofy isn’t always so bad.

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