This discipline cheat sheet isn’t the most practical way to handle a tantrum
Imagine being in the heat of a meltdown with your child. He’s lost it. You’ve lost it. Just when you’re about to give up, you remember! You have a handy-dandy, mile-long chart full of solutions at the ready that will solve all your problems!
A new “Discipline Cheat Sheet,” created by registered psychologist Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, probably has the right idea. It provides gentler substitutes for those oft-uttered and possibly not entirely helpful phrases that come out of many parents’ mouths during difficult moments with their kids. From the Facebook page Gentle Discipline, here it is.
First of all, even if you stare at this thing for several hours and study like it’s college all over again, the chances that you’ll remember these substitute phrases when they’re needed is slim to none. When you’re overheated and irrational, being gentle is the furthest thing from your mind.
The idea behind this chart is full of good intentions. In an ideal world, I wouldn’t roll my eyes when my daughter ignores me telling her to brush her teeth for the umpteenth time, but sometimes, she needs to see it. To understand that what she’s doing is pushing me over the edge. Kids needs to see us get angry and they need to understand that sometimes, their behavior is the reason we’re angry. How else do they learn?
And honestly, so many of these phrases are things kids really do need to hear sometimes. If my son is making fart noises in the bedding aisle at Target, damn straight I’m going to tell him he’s embarrassing me. Especially if it’s the fifth or sixth time he’s done it. How else do kids learn what behavior is appropriate in public and what isn’t unless we specifically call them out? I don’t need to take him somewhere quiet and worry over his feelings — I need him to stop making god damn fart noises and embarrassing me in public.
Similarly, there are scenarios where a kid does need to be told to go to their room if they’ve done something bad enough to warrant it. Of course, there are instances where they’re just over-tired and frustrated and could use a big hug instead of a punishment. But at times, kids misbehave. This is fact. They don’t always need to be coddled. Sometimes, they just need to be punished.
If we’re trying to raise good kids who know what behavior is acceptable and answer to us if they step out of line, we can’t always hug it out. A lovely notion in theory, but if a child does something wrong, it’s entirely reasonable to send them to their room. And sometimes, very smart. If you’re about to lose it, taking a step back isn’t a bad idea at all. Maybe you both need space and a chance to chill out.
We know there are times where we’re probably less patient with our kids than they deserve. That’s when the ideas in this chart might be useful. But if your child isn’t over-tired or hungry and is simply being a little shit who knows better? Taking away video games is OK. Rolling your eyes is OK. We can’t always have the perfect response for every situation and that’s perfectly fine.
Take charts like this with a grain of salt. There’s no one way to discipline your kids. You’re trying your best. And that’s all any of us can do.
H/T Huffpost Parents