It's nothing new, no one wants to be the bad guy, especially when it comes to our children. It absolutely sucks being the reason for tears, and in truth, even stings that much more having them feel some type of negative way towards you. Though we hate playing the villain, with regard to being a parent, it is necessary.
Historically, it seems as though fathers have been traditionally tasked with being the disciplinary. Phrases like "wait till your dad gets home" or "I'm telling your father" have always been used to get kids to straighten up. At times it feels like we as fathers are the ones "volun-told" to cultivate order and oversee punishment. But... is that a bad thing?
In the Latin use of the word, "disciplinare" actually means to teach or to train. Dr. Claire McCarthy, in a Harvard Health Publication suggests that it's not the discipline itself per say, but how we discipline our children. I not only agree with Dr. McCarthy, but also believe that correction should have multiple stages. One for self examination, one for reiterating the expectation, one for the punishment, and one for the affirmation.
Self Examination: This is probably the second most important stage because it makes us take inventory of ourselves. What are we being driven by? Is it anger, frustration, or is it a genuine desire correct the behavior?
Expectation: Have we previously and clearly set what is expected? Reiterating what "we" as a family don't do or is unacceptable.
Punishment: Being a parent is HARD, but this may be one of the most difficult parts about being that good steward over our children. I personally believe that the punishment should fit the crime. I also believe there is no one way that works because every child is different and responds different to certain stimuli. This is what makes this part so difficult because it involves us being students of our children. Actually learning and observing each child to see how they individually respond and what methods of punishment and correction illicit a positive response.
Affirmation: This is THE most important stage of discipline. The post affirmation confirms what the child suspects but at times may question do to the nature of the discipline. This is the stage that lets the child know that after everything is said and done I still love you. I only want the best for you and your behavior is not setting you on a course that would speak to that outcome.
There is a statement that I've heard a few dozen times that says "as a child i loved the hero, but as I got older I understood the villain." This is the hope of us all. Because at the end of the day, it has to be less about being liked and more about doing what it takes to raise good humans to put into the world.
We want to hear from you. Chime in and share your thoughts about the topic.
Is it difficult for you to be the bad guy?
is it harder to discipline your son or daughter? or which child is the hardest?
Is being "The Favored" parent important to you?
Should children have a healthy fear of their parents?