sometimes random consequence, but it also preserves
connection and intimate relationship between mother and
child. When appropriate, I communicate natural consequences
as one portion of a holistic discipline approach.
As hard as it is to admit at times, my daughter’s
assessment that I can’t make her do anything is correct. Her
expression of this reality used to send me to a place of great
anger, frustration, and then a “digging in” around an attempt
to prove her wrong. Though I sometimes still protest
internally, I have surrendered to the truth of her words. I now
respond with honesty. “You are right. I can’t make you do
anything. But I hope that you will choose to do this thing that
is safest and healthiest for both you and our family.” These
days, she most often does.
For a while, I lived in the fantasy that I actually
controlled my children, their emotions, and their choices. But
the raw truth is this: the only one that I can truly manage is
myself. There are unhealthy fear based tactics such as brute
force (which is only available for a time since they will grow up
and become stronger than me), manipulation, and shame that
I can attempt to deploy as I navigate the discipline of our kids.
The reality is that such methods don’t even work that well to
control the behavior of many children. Even more
importantly, they cause short and long term damage to tender
souls as well as to parent-child relationships.
I have decided that I am in this for the long haul. I
choose connection and the preservation of a healthy