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.