Tuesday, May 5, 2015


We heard a great talk by our Pastor yesterday on family values (my pet subject) and one of his points was the importance of 'flexible parenting'.  'Flexible parenting'?  What did he mean by that? Is this the result of inconsistency?

I was most relieved when he explained that our disciplinary approach may need to vary since each child's makeup and personality type is so different.  The expected behavioral outcome is the same, but the means of getting there may be different.  That makes perfect sense to me.

I have always been amazed that children born of the same parents can be so vastly different in personality.  I had one strong-willed child and one compliant child.  One always did his homework without being told and the other had to be told many times before she would get to it.  Some kids respond by us taking away privileges.  Some respond to time-outs and some respond to spankings (Where it is permissible).

It is obvious that if one method doesn't work, then you try another.  However, kids often see this as unfair because the variable treatment is often perceived as favoring one child over another.  It is, therefore, important to explain to children that you require the same behavior from each child, but that you will use whatever means it takes to get the desired result.

It is also a good idea to work out what will be the most to the least important values or expectations in your home.  Respect and honesty are the highest on my list, so they deserve the highest level of discipline in the case of infringement.  Getting home from a friend's home a little later than you told them may mean a lesser degree of correction.

We need to recognize that when we are 'losing the plot' it is not the time to issue severe punishment.  Tempered with efforts to train our kids to be responsible, caring and respectful adults, is the need for love and praise.  I have heard it said that it takes four positives to overcome one negative action, so our  children need to have a lot more 'tokens' in their positive banks than they do negative ones.  In raising our kids there needs to be a balance between fun and training.  Too much fun and little responsibility breeds a sense of entitlement.  Too much training and little fun breeds rebellion.   

  • Both parents agree on disciplinary measures.
  • Train our kids to meet our expectations.
  • Praise them for doing things right.
  • Explain the consequences of negative behavior.
  • Be consistent in issuing consequences.
  • Follow up by assuring our children that we love them. 
  • Ensure that they understand that their actions are what caused disciplinary measures.   
  • Reiterate your expectations and praise corrected behavior.
Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families

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