Creative Child

The Most Important Discipline Practice

by Rebecca Eanes

There are lots of challenges that parenthood brings. I’ve heard from many parents baffled about how best to discipline their child, but the biggest challenge for many parents isn’t figuring out how to properly discipline their kids but learning how to discipline themselves. This is some of the most important work in parenting because it determines how we show up each day, what we model, and what kind of relationships we are able to build.

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Self-discipline is such a challenge because parenting uncovers all of our triggers and brings up fears, hurts, and feelings from our pasts that cause real emotional reactions that we may not understand or be able to control until we bring awareness to those reactions. Our children show us where we need to heal and how we need to grow ourselves to reach our own full potentials so that we can help guide them toward reaching theirs.

 

Before parents can effectively teach their child self-discipline (and this is end-goal of all discipline), they must learn to effectively discipline themselves. The most important discipline practice a parent can use is the practice of self-regulation, disarming emotional triggers, and learning effective self-calming methods. When you are disciplined, you are able to show up and be the parent your child needs – calm, centered, logical, and safe.

 

The first step to in this practice of self-discipline is to understand your story. This requires some serious self-reflection and it could be uncomfortable or even painful at times, but it’s a necessary part of growth. If we don’t face our stories head on, we can remain stuck in unhealthy or unhelpful patterns with our children. This could prevent us from connecting with our children or from providing the unconditional love, acceptance, and support they need to grow well. In The Positive Parenting Workbook, I guide you through this process and provide you plenty of space to write out your story and then to revise it to serve you better. This allows you to let go of your limiting beliefs.

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To do this exercise today, think about what your child does that triggers you. What causes you to have big emotions and reactions? Now close your eyes and allow your mind to wander back to your childhood. Think of the times when you behaved in a way similar to what your child is doing that triggers you. How were you treated? What messages did you receive from your parents about this behavior? How did it make you feel? Is that the same feeling that rises in you now when your child behaves that way? See if you can pinpoint the origin of your big emotions around the trigger. By bringing awareness to this, you can begin to understand why your brain is coded to do what it has been doing and be empowered to change the narrative that runs through your mind when you’re triggered so that you can respond rather than react to your child. I’m currently taking a wonderful course to become a certified parent coach, and addressing our generational patterns and bringing consciousness is what our first few lessons are about. This is life-changing!

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