The art of discipline

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The authoritative parent like the authoritarian parent has rules in place but differ in that they not completely inflexible and are willing to brook some exceptions. Further to this they are comfortable giving explanations for the rules they have imposed and have some consideration of how they may affect the child’s feelings when dispensing them. They are less likely to use punishment, preferring to use consequences instead. They see this as a means to teach their child how to make healthy decisions and a process by which they come to understand the logical outcome of a prohibited action. The adoption of a consequence led discipline strategy will also involve positive reinforcement for good behaviour such as the use of rewards or praise. Such an approach consistently implemented has the tendency to produce individuals who understand boundaries. They tend to be happy and responsible, comfortable evaluating risk and making decisions. As adults they have a voice and are not inhibited when expressing their own opinions.

The uninvolved parent is one I have touched upon in a number of blogs. This often prevails in homes in which there is substance abuse or mental health problems. In some cases such individuals have themselves come from homes in which they were exposed to low quality parenting. The lack of modelling in their lives has led to gaps in their knowledge. They are often overwhelmed by the prospect of parenthood, feeling they lack the requisite skills or information to do it successfully. They may also be distracted or preoccupied by their own personal demons. As a result they are often neglectful and fail to meet their children’s needs. They provide little direction or guidance for the children under their care and leave them to effectively fend for themselves. In such an environment there are few restrictions and as such afford no opportunity for the child in question to learn appropriate self-regulation. The lack of parental attention and nurturing leads to a lack of self-esteem which translates to poor academic performance. This is often accompanied by profound behavioural problems. These parents have not modelled how to respond effectively to life’s challenges. The inability to problem solve can lead to unarticulated anxiety and extreme aggression. Happiness for these individuals is elusive.

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