Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday with Words: Love and Discipline

This new year has started with many blatant reminders of where I have fallen off the wagon.  My youngest turned 2 last month so we need to return to "normalcy" around here.  Our current state of fits and randomness is not going to get us there.

I recently saw the book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline in a forum. Well it's straight talk about how if you aren't in control - no one is in control or worse - your 3 year old is! This goes back to modeling and imitation - I know this stuff but . . .  Honestly, this is why it is tough to stay home with your kids - you realize your own bad behavior as they reflect it to you.  Anyway, Parenting from the Inside Out looks at the deeper psychological reasons we parent the way we do. Easy to Love takes the "fake it 'til you make it" approach- you, parent, start acting right and other things will fall in line.

Most of the book is "how to" but there are few introspective quotes that I really appreciated.

This hit me in two ways.  I don't personally avoid change, I just avoid finishing and being held responsible for what I start.  I don't want to mess up - so if I don't finish we can never know if it was a mistake or not.  I am working on this.  I do talk about how it is okay to make mistakes in our house. However, I think it is just lip service to my kids because most of my interactions with them don't communicate that mistakes are okay.  I am not that gracious.  This must change. 

Bailey also had a section about our "language of anxiety".  She described the different kinds of self-talk we use when we are anxious.  Her general categories are belittling others, remembering all the bad things from the past, creating future problems and negative inner speech.  I had never connected these thought patterns with anxiousness but it makes sense.  There is power in naming it! 

In this context she is explaining how overwhelming and conflicting anger is for a young child. From there, she explains that they often turn those moments into games to make themselves feel better (they start running in circles so you will chase them, play peek a boo, etc.).  This of course, in my case, just heightens my anger.  But realizing just how overwhelming fear and anger are in a little body helps me to have empathy.  I need to remember this!  It is my job to teach them how to deal with anger thoughtfully - not model ridiculous methods of "managing" it. 

It also reminds me that my anger is an expression of fear as well - it is not excusable - it means I am not walking in faith.  I am afraid someone will get hurt, wake up, turn out "wrong" because of one bad choice, etc.  Elsewhere she says 

Fear controls, love structures.  Fear judges, love notices. 

I am being hit over the head with the need to structure - at least a little bit - for all of us.  I have really enjoyed the ADE podcasts about structure (and the pages for it).  This is a start!  

Finally, she talks often about being specific and direct with our instructions to our kids for clarity's sake.  Labeling, commands, questions, sarcasm, accusations are all indirect commands.  I realized just how frequently I expect my kids to be mind readers.  I am missing tons of teaching moments and it is frustrating us all.  Half the time I am not sure what I want them to do and then get frustrated when they don't do it.  AGGHHH!   I just need to slow down and be more intentional. 

For me, this is a good read.  I imagine some people have this self control piece in hand - I am clearly not one of them (I thought I was)!  This book is not a scriptural look at discipline but it is not hard to find the grains of truth (perfect love casts out fear).  

See what others are reading at Ladydusk

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