Updated: Jun 16, 2022
Parents often report how the removal of items and privileges actually makes their children's behaviours worse. They admitted to knowing this, but chose to do it anyway as they didn't know what else to do.
Parents are tired of yelling, tired of disciplining, they are exhausted and overwhelmed. Many of today’s parents are using bogus threats, discipline tricks and shaming techniques to try and modify behaviour in the hope that it will magically change.
Enforcing adult imposed consequences never fixes the underlying problem that was driving the behaviour in the first place, and really only serves to create a me-against-you feeling which erodes the adult/child relationship causing more misbehavior.
When you say to a child:
“Whatever it is that you are attached to, whatever you love (your iPad, time with friends, treats) I will take that away from you when you are not good."
It becomes a me-against-you game, a deeply entrenched power struggle, rather than an effective parenting tool. It results in dysfunctional behaviour due to the child’s emotion's being stirred-up at losing the favoured item. "I hate you" and "I don't even care" are some of the responses you might get, while other children turn inward and feel a huge sense of shame for not meeting your expectation.
Pam Leo from Connection Parenting says it straight, 'you can not make a child behave better by making them feel worse; when children feel better they behave better.'
So, how do you make children feel better?
This is accomplished through understanding who they are. Without an understanding of their Nature, you wont be able to make them feel better, which is simply done by affirming their strengths which in turn boosts their self-esteem.
Find your child's nature here.
Here are some examples of the strengths of each Nature and what you can say to affirm these strengths:
Social: Making someone smile - "you bring so much joy to our family"
Strong: Accomplishments and getting a result - "you are so good at getting things done"
Sensitive: Caring for others whether it's humans or animals - "you are always looking out for others"
Structured: Producing quality, improving something - "you work hard to make sure things are just right"
Positive reinforcement of who they are creates more of what you want.