Marriage and Family Therapist
Julie Cohen is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist MFT and a Child Mental Health Specialist with a private practice in Los Angeles. Her areas of focus include: depression, anxiety, panic, post-traumatic stress, bipolar…
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How do I get over feeling like a bad parent when I discipline my children?
Posted in Children Of Div... by Julie Cohen on Oct 08, 2010
A member recently wrote that she has stopped disciplining her children because it hurt her too much when she did. I am hoping that all the “moms” out there will chime in with some comments. I know many of you can relate to this.

Just to be clear, in regards to discipline, I am not referring to spanking or any other form of physical punishment or abuse. First, I want to point out that not wanting to discipline your child may come from a place of compassion as well as worry, the concern being that to discipline a child is to hurt or make them sad.

Most of the parents that I know spend every waking hour making sure their child is happy and healthy. So, innately the idea of discipline can seem counter-intuitive to parenting.

You have to consider what the true meaning of discipline is and at the same time what the meaning that you give it is. From a parenting perspective, the goal of disciplining a child is to help them learn self-control, right from wrong and possibly self-regulation. These core structures I believe are critical to a child’s development. A child that doesn’t learn how to self-regulate or is unable to exercise self-control is going to have a tough time as an adult. Although discipline is not the only way a child learns these attributes, it is a part of the process.

So although in the moment it’s easy to feel like a bad mom, it’s important to pull your lens back and look at the broader picture. In the long run, you are helping your child learn some lifelong lessons as well as setting them up for success. Also, it is normal for a child to cry, get angry or be frustrated when a limit is put in place. As long as the limits are reasonable and age appropriate you are not hurting your child.

- Julie


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5
Not only is a parent trying to teach their kid self-control and doing the right thing, but the parent is also modeling it themselves. Moms and dads may not want to discipline a child, but it's part of the "sometimes you have to do something you don't want to do" lesson that the kids have to learn, too.
By Kensington  Oct 13, 2010
4
As the mother of 4 grown children, whom I disciplined regularly, who I realize now needed MORE boundaries - you are hurting your children if you DON'T discipline them. How will they grow up to be mature, adults, if you don't lead the way by showing them what is acceptable or not?

It may not seem like it now, but objectively reinforcing by any non-abusive method, is better for them in the long run. Letting them manipulate you with guilt is going to lead to emotionally disturbed children. Parent with lots of unconditional love, and firm limits.
By Angela53510  Oct 12, 2010
3
I only have one time that I spanked my oldest child that I truly regret. I did it when I was angry and it wasn't for anything done wrong. I live with it everyday,my child has forbiven me and I have asked forgiveness from God,but I have yet to be able to let it go.
By laughman  Oct 09, 2010
2
It is hard to discipline your children. I never slapped my daughters hands and rarely spanked her because I felt it would teach her to hit. But taking away certain items she loved seemed to work. The worst was when she told me she hated me one time for doing something of that nature. But then I realized that this is my job to make my kid understand their are consequences to actions and that the real world is a hard place to be in and I have to prepare her for it because if I don't who will. You are only hurting your child more by looking at the short term and not the long term.
By Kristine D. Stone  Oct 08, 2010
1
i actually asked this same question. i am so afraid of the feeling i have after discipling my children that it has gotten out of control. i have started to impliment small punishments for my children because i see the big picture. i dont want to be the family that people talk about under their breath at a store or restraunt and i want my children to know respect....i guess its the best of 2 evils i have to go with.
By luvinmomhood  Oct 08, 2010
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