Thursday, September 30, 2010


“The more our children are exposed to the small consequences of their small infractions, the less they will have to commit large infractions and experience large consequences. The sooner we can expose our children to the universal law of sowing and reaping (at whatever age they happen to be right now), the less they will need to have the larger consequences teach them as they get older.” pg. 158

“Choose only those consequences that you are willing to enforce....What you do is not nearly as important as how and why you do it. What is your motivation for spanking? Look down deep, focus on yourself, and honestly answer the question. Why do you want to spank your child? If you say you do not want to but you believe it is needed, then you are not acting with integrity.

ScreamFree parents never do anything they don't want to do. You are an adult, and you make every choice. If you spank without wanting to, then you need to focus on yourself some more. Why would you choose a consequence for your child if you did not want to choose it? Because he needed it? For what? Behavior modification? To calm him down? To show him who's boss? In order for any enforced consequence to have its desired effect, it needs to come from the solid, principled decision of its enforcer. If you're wish-washy about spanking, that will get communicated very clearly. And here's what you'll communicate: I am at my wits' end here, and I do not know what else to do but resort to the most base-level power I have over you, my physical size and strength. (and I'd like to add that you're also teaching your kids that it's okay to hit)

As you've learned throughout this book, what that really communicates is that your anxiety is driving the boat. And if anxiety is driving the boat, then you are not really in charge. A relationship can only take so many anxiety-driven interactions before becoming an anxiety-driven relationship.

So which consequences do you actually, authentically, want to enforce? I want to put my kids in timeout because it teaches them the type of pause that I'm trying to practice myself. Timeout also creates the space we need from each other. I want to take privileges and material possessions away from my kids because that teaches them to value such gifts. And sometimes, the consequence I want to enforce is simply telling them, with clear honesty, how their actions or words have hurt me.” pg. 175-176

“Consistent enforcement of consequences is the single most effective application of authority in the parent-child relationship- but only if you can think through your decisions calmly before you make them. By doing so, you greatly increase the chances that those decisions will be sensible, realistic, and helpful in facilitating everyone's growth." pg. 177

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