Are You Disciplining in Anger?
How to Maintain Your Composure
“Keep in mind that children do not get up in the morning with a sinister plan to ruin your day,” Hierlmaier-Nelson says. She suggests focusing on three main elements to help maintain your patience and composure as a parent, especially when disciplining:
- Empathy: “Put yourself in the child’s shoes: Is he hungry, tired, jealous, or seeking your attention?,” says Hierlmaier-Nelson.
- Mindfulness: Try to stay in the moment; don’t worry about the 15 things that need your attention today. And remind yourself to be patient. “Sometimes a few hugs, a short storybook, or a promised activity later in the day can go a long way toward good behavior. Just make sure to follow through on promises,” she adds.
- Service to Others: As parents, we are helping mold our children’s behavior for their entire lives. When you view yourself as someone who provides service to your children, you can be calmer and more gentle, and in turn teach your kids how to become responsible, caring adults. The goal for them is to grow up and be well-balanced individuals who can recognize their emotions and appropriately deal with their own anger, Hierlmaier-Nelson says.
“Parenting is a high calling even though it doesn’t feel like it when you’re changing a diaper or cleaning up lunch. Your actions and reactions to your child will set his or her values and skills for later in life—from using manners to picking up after yourself,” Hierlmaier-Nelson says. “Model leadership—service and responsibility to others—and you will raise leaders.”
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