Guilt doesn't do you (or your child) any good -- especially when it comes to discipline. Find out how to let it go with these practical and simple expert tips.
Let Go of the Guilt!
Parents today are obsessed with being "perfect," says Jodi Stoner, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and coauthor of Good Manners Are Contagious. "Parents are under so much stress these days, working long hours and spending more time out of the house," she says. "When Mom and Dad are home, they want to spend quality time with the kids, and when they have to take time out to discipline, they feel guilty." And that's a dangerous emotion, says Kevin Leman, Ph.D., a family psychologist and author of Have a New Kid by Friday. "Guilt is the propellant for most of the bad decisions parents make. As a result, today's kids are all about 'me, me, me,' and 'gimme.' They are held accountable less and less and have fewer responsibilities in the family. Fewer children today consider others before themselves because they've never been taught to think that way." No wonder experts agree: Discipline is key.
Create a Blueprint for Discipline
The Problem: One parent wants to be "the fun one," which leaves the other parent in charge of discipline -- and always feeling like "the bad guy."
Mom and Dad are a team, and it's essential that they're on the same page when it comes to discipline, Dr. Stoner says. "You should not try to discipline in the moment. Punishments and rewards should have a rhyme and reason to them," she says. "Sit down and discuss what values you want to give to your children. How will you teach good manners and proper behavior? What bothers one parent might not bother the other, so you need to come up with some clear rules -- no hitting, no talking back, etc. -- and consequences for breaking them. And both parents need to take responsibility for disciplining the kids."
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