When we discipline, how do we FEEL towards our teenager? How we feel has a huge impact on our message. If we are angry with them or think they are “wrong”, our judgement of them will impact our effectiveness.

When our teenager feels judged, they are less open to learning or listening. Their emotion gets in the way. Do we hear ourselves saying?

  • WHY did you do that? (with a sense of them being wrong)
  • That is NOT how you should be handling it
  • You must…..

Why do we judge them?

OUR judgement comes from how their actions impact us and our sense of who we are.

  • Has it made us late or impacted our schedule?
  • Has it made us look bad?
  • Does it mean we are not a good enough parent?
  • Does it mean they have disrespected us?
  • Does it mean they are draining our energy?

Learning how to separate ourselves and what it means to us from the way we discipline makes us more effective. We do this by measuring ourselves and meeting our needs regardless of the outcome of their behaviour. Our focus then is not on making ourselves feel better, but rather on what we need our teenager to learn. Next time you are disciplining just pause for a minute and ask yourself, what is my intention? Often without realizing it, it is to make ourselves feel better. When we tell them, give them an instruction or discipline them we “take back control” and it feels better, but have they learnt what they needed for next time?

Discipline is a permanent operating system for learning, rather than a tool for punishment or damage control.

The LEARNING for future situations is the most important objective and we can only do this by creating a safe space for mistakes and having no judgement. This provides the opportunity for discussion and questions:

What did they want from the situation?

Did they get it?

What did not work for them and why?

How could they get what they want within your parameters?

How could you get what you want when changing your parameters?

Having these open discussions with curiosity develops our teenager’s way of thinking and builds accountability in them which gives them the courage to take different more effective action next time.

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