Growing and raising a child is one of the hardest things humans will ever have to do. Despite how tough it is, it’s also one of the most rewarding parts of life.
Every parent will understand the struggles of trying to be the perfect parent to their child, and despite the wide variety of books and videos and lectures on parenting, it’s not a “one size fits all” situation.
Each child is different and wonderful, so disciplining each child will vary hugely. Here’s the thing – discipline is a necessary part of parenting, but no parent wants to discipline their child.
When a child is disobedient, they must be disciplined in a way that will teach them that what they did was wrong and how to tackle it in the future. Easier said than done, right?
Problem is, being a parent is so exhausting that sometimes all you feel like you can do is tell your child off.
If you’ve ever tried this, you’ll know that yelling at a child benefits absolutely nobody. Instead, you’ve got to turn your disciplinary methods into nurturing ones to get through to your child in a healthier and more educational way.
Here is the ultimate guide on how to shift from discipline to nurturing!
How To Shift From Discipline To Nurturing
Truth is, there isn’t an easy way to shift entirely from discipline to nurturing. You shouldn’t have to abandon discipline entirely, because discipline is a highly important part of parenting. Without discipline, how is a child to learn what they did was wrong?
Here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons to discipline and nurturing:
- Teaches children about how consequences work
- Feels good for the parent to do
- Encourages children to avoid discipline in the future
- Allows kids to strive for their goals without any distraction
- Teaches children to have a positive attitude about discipline in the future
- Keeps yourself and your children healthy (especially when the child enters the teenage years)
- If the disciplinary method isn’t consistent or performed correctly, it can backfire and turn the child to anger and frustration
- Being too firm can lead to a child that is afraid of their parent
- Being too weak can lead to a child getting away with anything
- Provides a safe space for your child to be open with their emotions and feelings
- Helps your child to understand why they feel the way they do and how to work with their emotions
- Provides unconditional love and trust between a child and their parent
- Gives your child a healthy environment that provides them with food, water, clean clothes, and everything they need to live happily
- Reduces anxiety levels in both parents and children
- Without discipline, providing a child with nurture can come across as “soft”, which can backfire and encourage a child to misbehave with no consequences
With both pros and cons to discipline and nurture, parents cannot simply shift from one to the other. It’s all about finding a balance between the both, because you don’t want to confuse your child.
Disciplining your child when they are disobedient should look a little something like this:
For example, you’ve just walked into the living room to find your kid has been drawing on the walls. Instead of freaking out, shouting, and swearing (which are all justified emotions for an adult), you need to sit down next to your child and ask them to stop. Don’t shout, but remain firm.
You’ll need to ask them what they are drawing, and why they are drawing on the wall when they could draw in their coloring book. Explain to them that this is a home that shouldn’t be drawn on and that you are upset that they have done it, and ask them to help you to paint over the drawing.
Getting them involved with this task is better than sending them up to their room, confused as to what they have done wrong.
Of course, we understand that it’s never as straightforward as this. This is purely an example of how to discipline a child with a nurturing element that teaches them that you are upset with why they have painted on the wall and how to amend their mistakes.
In theory, this should teach them to ask where to paint or draw, how to apologize properly (through both actions and words), and that their actions can cause upset to the people they love.
Balancing Discipline With Nurture
The whole point of balancing discipline and nurture is to provide unconditional love to your child in order to build a foundation of trust and honesty, but making it clear to them that you are their parent and not a friend.
Teaching a child about the consequences of their actions, both good and bad, is essential to do from a young age.
It’s even more important that this form of discipline is carried out by both parents involved.
Your child will turn to one parent for support and sympathy when the other parent has been strict with them, but you cannot allow that to happen. Instead, you both have to offer support and strict guidance at the same level.
Without the nurture, this will lead your child to feel lonely and isolated from two “evil” parents. Without the discipline, this will lead your child to feel as if they can do whatever they want in life.
You’ve got to remember that your feelings of anger, frustration, disappointment, and upset are all rational and understood by yourself, because you are an adult who has had years of experiencing emotions.
Your child, however, doesn’t understand their emotions in relation to actions and consequences, which is why you have to communicate with them.
If they’re throwing a tantrum because you asked them to eat their vegetables at dinner, ask them why they are screaming. Allow them to feel, and don’t scold them for it.
Their emotions are almost out of control, so it’s important to help them understand and realize what they are feeling to take the steps to feel differently.
Unfortunately, it’s all a matter of trial and error. Not every parent will master the art of balancing discipline with nurture, because it’s simply not doable in every situation. Sometimes, kids will be disobedient for a whole day with no rhyme or reason.
You can’t beat yourself up about it, because there is no such thing as the “perfect parent” that everyone strives to be. Allow whatever happens to happen so you can all grow from it.
Perhaps this question should be reworded from “how to shift from discipline to nurturing” to “how to balance discipline with nurture”. It’s easier said than done, but if your child has misbehaved, you need to take a deep breath and ask yourself the following questions:
- Why has this upset me?
- How will I communicate with my child to let them know that this is wrong?
- Will anger help this situation?
- How can I teach this child to amend their disobedience?
The role of a parent is to be a guiding light and pave the way for your child. This starts with helping them to recognize and understand their emotions and how consequences work, which is why discipline and nurturing should go hand in hand.
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