Various Forms Of Child Discipline – How to Parent Without Shaming

There is a wide spectrum regarding forms of child discipline in relation to successful parenting. On one end of the spectrum is the rigid, strict sense of discipline-spare the rod and spoil the child type thinking-and on the other is the permissive parent. Permissive to a fault, these parents seem to end up the most guilt ridden while overly strict parents continue to be self justified until something drastic happens. I submit that there is the possibility of a happy medium.

I seldom hear anyone who has children refer to themselves as a successful parent. The media, our parents, and society at large have different definitions of successful, though, and I believe that in order to be a truly successful parent, you must first understand what successful means. The dictionary defines success as “… The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.” It makes no mention of income, material gain, or level of education. I have yet to see parenting quotes that reflect this.

I recently read an article about parenting and adults using guilt to make other people feel bad and on children to control their behavior. I beg to differ. People use shame to attempt to control behavior, and the result is guilt. It is cast like a curse (“Shame on you!”) with wagging finger in the hopes that the recipient will cower and change. After an entire childhood of hearing this, however, the child has become a guilt ridden adult, living a shame based life and often having an anxiety disorder.

Low self esteem, co-dependency, alcoholism and other drug addiction-the list goes on-all can be traced back to the shaming suffered at the hands of (well meaning?) controlling adults. On the other hand, permissive parents often act out of the shame they suffered as children, and allow their children to experiment with life, stay out late, and not suffer the consequences of their actions. These permissive parents crawl up onto their crosses and turn on the martyr tears (how could you do this to me?) when junior gets to spend the weekend in juvenile detention. (Strict parents validate the child’s feelings by reminding them that they told them they would never amount to anything.) Both are shaming. Any good active parenting workshop will tell you the same thing.

Well I’ve gone on long enough, time for the solution, as if it weren’t obvious.

A successful parent uses forms of child discipline that will create a balance between the two ends of the spectrum, pays very close attention to how they talk to their children (if you don’t know, take a class-many are free) and knows that the definition of successful parenting is raising a child who grows up to be independent ( is capable of holding a job, whether they are right now or not), well adjusted (neither full of fear nor hate), and doesn’t hurt other people intentionally (physically, emotionally, or spiritually).


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