When I was a young shrink in training – a “shrinkling”? – I imbibed a load of parenting techniques. “Have tools, will travel” was my motto. As I counseled more parents, I was forced to conclude: Offering ideas is the easier part; the challenge lies in convincing a parent to implement these ideas. While most parents have a good sense of what makes for solid discipline, many have reasons that stay their hand. They’re tired, or feel guilty of that they’re being mean, or fear parenting “mistakes,” or disagree with their spouse, or think their kids will rebel, or face a mother-in-law who already sees them as the nastiest witch/warlock to fly across the face of the earth.
No matter the resistance, one overarching reality rules: A loving parent is his child’s kindest, most gentle teacher about life. Never again will that little person receive the unconditional love, the benefit of the doubt, or the forgiveness offered by a good parent (good spouses excepted). If a parent disciplines weakly today, the world will discipline strongly tomorrow. And the world hurts. IF a child acts nasty, he sits on the couch. Brutal. If an adult acts nasty, he could get fired, punched, or have to sleep on the couch or in the basement. The stakes are higher as kids get older. To put it bluntly: Don’t let the world discipline your children.
“Discipline without love may be harsh. Love without discipline is child abuse.”
Dr. Ray Guarendi
Raising Good Kids: Back to Family Basics Pages 30-31 Copyright © 2011, Dr. Ray Guarendi Our Sunday Visitor, Inc