Parenting and Discipline: Which Approach Is Best?

Parenting. It can be the hardest job in the world, and yet it can also be the most rewarding. Do you wish there were a set of rules to follow, guidelines at least? We want to do the best for our children, we want them to have and be everything that they can. Making choices when it comes to parenting and discipline can be very difficult. How do we want to discipline our kids, and which way is the best?

How we parent often is a direct result of how we were parented. When I was young and head strong, I swore I would never raise my kids like that! And yet, as I grow older, I so often will find myself saying or doing something the exact same way that my parents said or did to me. I catch myself doing it, and it brings a smile to my face. Do you catch yourself doing this too?

When it comes to parenting and discipline, there are a few different approaches/techniques that we can look at.

Authoritarian Parenting – This is when we rule with an iron fist. It is about controlling our kids. Some of the more harsh (violent) techniques that are used in this approach are spanking, hitting, yelling, laying blame, using guilt, humiliating, criticizing and so on. The children learns to listen out of utter fear of what will happen when they don’t.

Punishments and Rewards – Although this is a less violent method, it is still based in fear, to achieve the desired outcome. Children are either punished by removing privileges, time-outs, withdraw of love and guilt; or by rewards that can include money, extra privileges, new toys and the like.

Studies have shown these two methods to be quite damaging to children because it hurts them emotionally, ruins their self-esteem and confidence, while removing any sense of power or control over their own life and actions.

Permissive Parenting – This is way on the other end of the scale. Parents do not feel in control, and will parent through trying to coax the child, bribing, pleading, and negotiating with the child. In this approach to parenting, it is the parents who feel at wits-end, and have lost their own sense of personal power.

This method can also be damaging to the child. Often in this situation, the needs of the child are not being met. Believe it or not, all children do need rules and routines to function at their best.

Democratic Parenting – As the name suggests, this is more of a win, win for parent and child. This approach to parenting is where there is a level of trust and respect toward each other. The children are included in the process. This method comes from a place of love. Rules and routines are still in place, but children are not being controlled with fear tactics. Discipline is used as it should be, to train the child. It allows the child to grow and gain self-esteem, confidence and power while at the same time respecting what is asked of them by the parent.

This method lessens conflict, and stress for both parent and child because it based on a connection.

If the democratic parenting approach is not how you were raised, you may have a difficult time wrapping your head around the idea at first, but after some time implementing this method you will see how much less stress is involved and you will notice a great improvement in the whole process. You will enjoy parenting your child, and you will both be happier for it.

To learn more about parenting and discipline, please stop by my website and sign up for my mini-course entitled “Parenting Happy Children”.

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