Enhance Safety When Disciplining


From Attachment-Focused Parenting by Daniel A. Hughes. Highly recommended:

“Discipline often consists of two features:  an increase in safety and an increase in anxiety. Safety is enhanced through a child’s knowledge that the parent is actively involved in a situation and has the knowledge and experience to manage it. Anxiety is increased when the parent’s decision is at odd with the child’s wishes and thus may create frustration and conflict. Such conflicts may generate uncertainty about the meaning of the parent-child relationship, especially when the child is unclear about the parent’s motives. To enhance personal safety, the parent is wise to value the probable value of the following:

>The parent should convey her decision regarding discipline with an open and confident stance, with clarity and information regarding her motives and the desired consequences. The intent of her communication is not to elicit agreement but rather to give the child the information that he needs to make sense of her decision. A focus on gaining the child’s agreement may well communicate a fear of differences and conflicts and generate more confusion and less clarity for the child.

>The parent should be open to her child’s perspective, so that he knows that she has confidence in her choice regarding what is best, while still knowing her child’s wishes.

>The parent is wise to convey her decision with empathy for the frustration likely to occur due to the conflict between what the child wants and her decision. This will enable the child to experience understanding and comfort over his distress regarding the discipline, and to accept her decision more easily. “

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