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Serious Child

Parents… Please don’t Punish Your Children

Recently I’ve been presenting some ‘123 Magic and Emotion Coaching courses’. This is a 3 session course which provides parents with simple and effective ways of managing their child’s (aged 2 – 12 yrs) challenging behaviours – things like nagging, yelling, throwing toys etc. We know these are often ‘normal’ responses which children do when they don’t get their way; when things go wrong; or when they are tired or hungry. The sessions give parents the best tools to get positive results without the need for them to bribe, justify or yell, and importantly it’s done in a manner which respects the child’s ‘right’ to assert what they are experiencing. It is our job as parents to ‘Calmy and Consistently’ (The Parenting Cafes’ motto) assist our children to learn what is acceptible behaviour and what is not.

One thing which always comes up for discussion in the course is ‘punishment’. The dictionary definition of the word ‘punish’ is to: “Cause to suffer for an offence.” Have our children committed an ‘offence’? Do we want our children to ‘suffer’ for this?

Surely what we want, is that they ultimately learn what is acceptable or not.

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Image by scjn via Flickr

How to help our children learn about consequences

What happens when you pay your electricity bill late? – you get one reminder, and then a late fee is applied if you still don’t comply.

What happens when you bring your wife a bunch of flowers? – she shows gratitude to you!

What happens when you don’t prop the ladder correctly before climbing up? – it wobbles, putting you in danger.

All of these are consequences of our actions. As adults we know what the consequences are, and we choose to comply, or not comply, knowing there will be consequences.

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Image by Pete Markham via Flickr

Why We Must Set Boundaries for our Children

I want you to imagine you now own a horse, and you put it out on the land. It’s on an area where there are no fences – none, anywhere! You call the horse to come to you, and it runs away. Another time you see the horse misbehaving, but before you can approach it, it runs away. Another time, there is danger about, and you attempt to get the horse for it’s own safety, but it runs away. In all of these cases, a fence would have been really useful.

It is the same with ‘fences’ for children. Obviously we aren’t going to fence in our child, but it is vital that we establish boundaries, which are just like fences. A boundary is like saying to your child: ‘Within here you can run/ play/ do, but then you can go no further.’ Let me give you a few examples.

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