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Kindness vs. Discipline

Anyone who has brought up children will know at least two things: one is just how important it is to show them unconditional love. The second is that there are times when showing them kindness is the very last thing on your mind.

As an example of the latter, stopping your two year old from running out into the street without looking is likely to be higher priority than showing kindness at that very moment. There is no doubt that occasionally we need to raise our voices in order to keep kids safe.

A Vital Lesson

At some point in our journey of growing up, we need to learn what “No” means, and discipline can play an important role when this vital lesson comes up. Hopefully the lesson arrives sooner rather than later in our life. Some parents give the teaching of discipline a very high priority – but kids have their own way of dealing with what we want them to learn and the degree of success can vary enormously.

Finding the Balance

So how does a caring parent work out how to get the balance right between using kindness or harsh words? One way of looking at this is to say that your own behaviour is OK providing that it is motivated by kindness. Taking urgent action and raising your voice can then be seen as an expression of love for the child’s well-being. So there is an argument to say that being able to step back and see our overall motivation for our actions will help us make the right decisions.

There are also times when the child’s naïve perceptions of a situation need to be challenged and that the child might need to recognise that “mum/dad knows best”.

But I rather like the following advice from Wayne Dyer that I heard earlier this week: “When faced with a choice between being right and being kind, choose kindness.

If choosing kindness towards your child is currently proving much harder than you would like it to be – perhaps in8 could help you understand what is going on, and help you to get back to a place where it becomes a viable option again. Contact us to find out how we can support your parenting journey.