We often look at January as another opportunity for a parenting “tune-up” so I thought I would focus here on “Discipline”. People often think that discipline is a negative word, but really, it simply means the codes we live by. For example, someone who runs every morning before work might be called “disciplined”. The same can be said about a person who always acts respectfully. Teaching/modelling discipline for our children is not an option but an obligation. Children are not born knowing how to navigate this world. We need to be the leader they need us to be so that they can become the disciplined adults they need to be. I say this, of course, in the context of first providing a loving, affectionate and supportive environment.
In a recent moment of complete insanity, I adopted two rescue pups (lab/husky combos) at 7 weeks old. Sleep deprived and at my wit’s end, I found myself approaching 60 and raising the equivalent of toddlers. The pups are now 14 weeks old and since dog years are short, they are getting big quickly! So I ask myself, are these playful puppy behaviours (jumping up upon greeting for example) something I want to be dealing with when they are 70 pounds? The parallels to child rearing have not escaped me. Is the behaviour we see in our Toddlers something we want to see in our teenagers?
I have a dog trainer come in every few weeks to help me set the course. Just like years ago, I hired a parenting coach to help me do the same with my children at various stages. Interesting how dog training is a common event but we only hire a parenting coach when we are desperate. Discipline is not something to be started once problems arise…..it is to set the tone, the foundation.
My dogs will do anything for food. My pockets are full of kibble. I am sure I smell like kibble. I am not suggesting we reward our children’s behaviours with food, but positive encouragement – even just noticing when they are being helpful or playing nicely, and commenting on specific actions, will go a long way to developing that foundation.
I call it mindful discipline. Again – the codes we live by. If we lead well, with consistency and loads of positive encouragement, our children will develop a sense of trust, security and ……discipline.
Wishing you much joy and happiness in this new year………..Leslie