A few weeks ago, a friend I care about said he didn't agree with everything I wrote about parenthood. Curious to know what he was specifically referring to, I asked him to tell me more. He said:
"Sometimes when I read your posts I feel you err too much on the side of 'kids know what they are doing.'
I feel, as a parent of 3 and 7-year-olds, I do know a bit more than them. :)
It’s probably not even specific to you. I feel the mainstream advice/viewpoint on parenting has swung too far in that direction. It used to be the other extreme - all discipline and no empathy. Now I feel it’s going too far in the opposite direction."
It was a fair point. Although I never suggested children knew everything, I realized that I should speak more of the parent's authority.
Because it is true. In a healthy parent-child relationship, the parent holds the full decision-making power (it's also healthy to share this power with the child when the situation permits). Fun fact: children, too, need the parent to hold the power.
Discipline and empathy can coexist. From that conversation onward, I have decided to write more on how positive parenting and discipline go hand in hand.
So this week's article is on one of my favorite topics: boundaries.
I wrote about how boundaries are different than consequences.
In many resources, I see consequences being presented as a "logical" parenting style. The kid does something bad, the parent gives them a consequence or lets them experience a "natural" consequence. Straightforward, right?
Not so much.
No matter how innocently they talk of it, a consequence is a form of punishment.
Consequences involve control. Boundaries involve understanding and guidance.
Kids feel safe inside boundaries. When they cross a boundary, the parent's compassionate leadership gets them right back in.
There's no toxic control over here. There is the intention to protect our children with the decisions we make.
To see some examples, take a look at the article. (It's a complicated topic so I'll write more on it in the coming issues.)
You are the leader your child needs. A calm, confident, compassionate leader. You set boundaries for safety, not for convincing your child. ?
You surely know a lot more than kids. The way you execute your leadership is what matters.
You got this!
P.S.: There's a good chance that my friend who owns the above quote is reading this letter. I'm grateful, dear friend, for your transparency! :)
? Weekly nurture
Below is this week's article on boundaries vs. consequences. Added two more articles from previous issues that are related to positive discipline. Enjoy!
4 reasons why you should place boundaries, not consequences: No matter how mild it sounds, a consequence is a form of punishment. Like all other punishments, its main goal is to control behaviors. There's a better way.
4 parenting styles explained through a real-life example: Learn about the sweet spot between strict and submissive parenting. Also, see how different parenting styles respond differently in a real-life situation.
Best books on positive discipline: Discipline has a terrible connotation but did you know that the word's origin says something else? Here is a list of the top 5 positive discipline books for you.
? Weekly wisdom
If we see children as the competent and complex human beings that they are, we can begin to see their behavior beyond the polarity of negative and positive. We can begin to see the nuances of who they are and how they see the world.
[...] imagine that children are beloved adult visitors from another country who don’t know our customs or ways. How would we treat such a visitor?
We would give them guidance and support without shame or judgment. We would accept their mistakes, celebrate their accomplishments with them, and cherish the experience of being with them as they explored and gained mastery of our culture.
?️ Weekly visual
That's it for today! ❤️
Thanks for reading!
Send me your thoughts. I'm on Twitter and love seeing a DM in my inbox. You can also hit reply or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next Saturday!
Love, Basak (founder of Apparent)