Parents generally handle punitive measures from a disciplinary point of view. They genuinely think that punishing their child will teach the child something. They try to turn an already emotional moment into a teachable moment, which is - logically - a paradox.
Most often, they are not to blame for this way of reasoning, since that’s the way they were raised and that’s what society perpetuates: “Give them a time-out, they will learn.” or “Put him in the corner for a while so he can think about his actions.”
They start of from the paradigm that the child is deliberately acting up and that he is doing it to
- get on your nerves
- get your attention
- manipulate you
and that this behavior needs to be dealt with swiftly to nip it in the butt.
To their dissarray, the punitive measures don’t give an immediate result, they don’t even have a lasting result if used repetitively. But, by lack of other tools, and on public recommendation, parents ‘stay strong’ and ‘do not cave in’ and stick with the system…
People who want to make the conversion to peaceful parenting often sigh that they do not have the tools to deal with heir child.
Actually, making the switch is not that hard. It is not even about tools or tricks, it is about changing your mind about your child. It is about not seeing your child’s behavior as bad or naughty. And about knowing your triggers.
Yes, punitive measures are mostly about the way you as a parent respond to situations, not about what your child is doing at the time.
The next time you find your child doing something you would label as ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’, try to see it in a different light, try to see it as something positive! Your child is exploring, your child enjoys his freedom, he is experimenting, he is completely absorbed by his play… Feel how different your reactions are when you turn the situation that way.
Become mindful about the way you label your child’s actions and feel your triggers fade away.
You will quickly find that there is no need for ‘teaching your kid a lesson’, your child is already learning. He is simply experimenting and being a child.
Good luck with your journey towards peaceful parenting, you will find it very rewarding.