Did you make a New Year’s resolution having to do with parenting? Or, are you like me… a resolution-avoider? Regardless, I heard a great quote today. Although it was used in the terms of healthy eating, it applies to much more, including parenting. Here it is:
Don’t trade what you want most for what you want at this moment.
There is a lot to think about in that short little statement, but what first came to my mind was discipline. Many of our courses talk about choosing discipline techniques that make sense in terms of brain development and building skills such as self-control, empathy, cause and effect thinking, ability to let go of control and impulse control. While we get a lot of agreement that yes, pull close parenting types of discipline do manage the child’s behavior while building those skills, we find that for many of us (ourselves included at times!) what we want right now, in that moment, sometimes gets in the way.
Take the example of a younger child who is throwing a temper tantrum. The science of brain development tells us that the ability to regulate one’s emotions is learned through someone else helping keep your emotions regulated. We also know that we have to be present to help the child calm and regulate that mad feeling. And yet, there is still a temptation to do something that makes them stop crying or throwing a fit right now!!! …even if “making it all stop” works against what you really want… a child who will ultimately be able to handle their own angry feelings appropriately.
So, take a moment and ask yourself:
What are my goals for my child?
How do I get there? Do I know how to get there?
What do I need to get there?