Discipline Mistakes Pushover Parents Make
Child India|May 2018

Even if you’re usually in control, don’t be surprised if you fall into one of these traps some day.

Jacqueline Burt Cote

SOFTIE. Spineless. Pushover. These are a handful of the words that have been used to describe my discipline style—by everyone from my husband to my mom to strangers at the grocery store. And I fully admit, I’m guilty as charged. Of course, my intentions are good. I’m non-confrontational by nature, and every attempt to impose a consequence makes me feel like Bad Mommy. My clever kids, with their tears and whines? Well, they know exactly how to trick me.

“Some parents believe there shouldn’t ever be conflicts with their children,” says Dr. Thomas W. Phelan, Author of the 1-2-3 Magic series of discipline books. However, the reality is that kids need the structure that setting limits provides—and some, like mine, aren’t getting it at home. Discipline helps them learn self-control and appropriate behaviour. In fact, researches have shown that children of lenient parents are more likely to act aggressively at school and are at greater risk for underage drinking.

You’ve probably heard that moms and dads typically fall into one of three categories: Authoritarian, authoritative, or permissive. Experts generally agree that the middle-of-the-road authoritative style tends to produce the most well-adjusted and happy kids.

I’d argue that the firm-but-fair approach is better for parents too. I can only imagine how much less stressful my life would be if I could figure out how to say, “This is what we’re having for dinner tonight,” instead of “What does everybody want to eat?” And I’d love to know how to motivate my older children to be on time for school—and what to do when they’re late almost everyday besides making vague threats that they believe I’ll never carry out.

Yeah, I know: Good luck with that, pushover. Still, it’s possible to get better at taking charge—once you own up to mistakes like these.

you don’t follow through on consequences.

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