By Gail Friend, NLP Life Coach
Gail is a qualified NLP(Neuro Linguistic Programming) Life coach and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) practitioner with over 15 years of experience in the application of NLP to personal development, parenting and childhood development. Her journey with her special needs son and her success with him lead her to the strategies she shares. Her mission is to empower and inspire parents to work on their own personal development so that they can develop their and their children’s emotional intelligence through their day-to-day interactions with them and create the lives they really want.
Moms, how many of you struggle with discipline? My children won’t listen. My children have tantrums, and I don’t know how to handle that. I am always having to nag them. My children are defiant and don’t respect me. I just wish they would cooperate!
There are so many aspects to discipline, it is no wonder that so many of us struggle with it.
Just imagine your home without the power struggles and seemingly unnecessary conflict so that we as moms can have the deep connection we want with our children.
This is possible when we get very clear on what WE are doing. So often we focus on getting a result in the moment, we focus on what we need our children to do and that is where we lose all our power and influence. When we shift our perspective to developing our children in each moment rather than getting a result in the moment we take our power back. I learnt this through my journey with my special needs son. I was in for results, but it never worked. We always ended up fighting.
The day I let go and shifted from getting a result to developing him was the day he started to read and write (something, I was told wouldn’t happen). It was the only way I could settle my frustration and it gave him space to develop the way he needed to. To develop deep connection with our children we have to give our children space without trying to control the process.
Implementing these four aspects consistently will get us the results we want.
- Maintain our emotional states as moms.
This is the first and most important step in discipline, and sometimes the most difficult. When we lose it, our children hold all the power. When we need them to be a certain way in order for us to be happy, they hold all the power, and we have no influence. The key to maintaining our emotional state is to be detached from the outcome and focus on developing them. That way we can measure ourselves based on what we are doing (being consistent, teaching them in each moment) and not what our children are doing (misbehaving or not). This settles our sense of self (not feeling good enough as moms) which is what causes us to react. Our children are young and growing, we can’t be dependent on them getting it right for our happiness. If we are tired or just want it to go smoothly because we need a break, that is an indicator for us to take responsibility for our needs and make time to give to ourselves. This can sometimes feel impossible, but when we find a way, EVERYTHING shifts!
- Set clear consistent boundaries.
When we maintain our emotional state, setting boundaries becomes easier because we are not setting them in reaction. The key to good boundaries is to be short, clear and detached from the person, i.e. leaving “I” and “you” out. For example: “In our house we bath after supper”. When you leave the I and you out, you take away the power struggle between you and state “this is how things work”. We can then state this with strength without disempowering them. The key is not to have long lectures in the moment. Our children don’t hear it, it doesn’t work. In the moment our goal is to acknowledge them and state the boundary. I can see that you are upset, and we bath after supper and then follow through. Explanations and learning happen outside the moment.
- Allow space for them to mess up.
Our children are not going to always get it right. It may go well for a while and then a phase where it doesn’t go well. Accepting that as part of the process settles our frustrations. We are the ones that can be consistent. Our peace comes from our consistency not theirs.
- Consistent after conversations to develop learning.
Be clear in your in-the-moment conversations and outside-the-moment conversations. Having consistent outside-the-moment conversations (after the situation has happened) develops learning. That is when no one (you or them) is in an emotional state or needing a result, and open to learning. That is where explanations happen as to why we do things and what we will do next time. Asking questions about what happened develops their perspective of why they do things. These consistent conversations develop long-term learning.
Choosing to see discipline as a process to develop your child’s way of thinking, rather than getting them to listen in the moment develops their accountability and a strong sense of self within them. That is what we want!