The Great Parenting Contradiction
Posted: May 17, 2019
“I want my child to have self-discipline but I don’t want them to do anything they don’t want to do.”
By Master Christopher Rappold
As a parent, I would be the first to admit we have to choose our battles at times. With everything from what to eat, what to wear, how to act, to scheduling everything from homework to bedtime and the fact that unlike a 9 – 5 job, as a parent you never get to punch out. It is understandable why parenting has been called the toughest job in the world.
All this being said, it is sad when I have a conversation with a parent who says, “I want my child to have self-discipline but I don’t want them to do anything they don’t want to do.” Think about it and what a contradiction that is. Can you relate to this contradiction? I know I have faced this with both of my little angels. So what do you do and how do your reconcile this with your own children?
Here are three common practices I have observed over and over again from some people who just seem to have parenting down to a simple science:
1. Parents help select activities for their children that help to develop their children physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They do the research in advance to ensure the activity and people involved will be positive learning experience.
2. Parents encourage full participation and continue to remind their children of the long term importance of the activity. They understand that “new” will wear off quickly. They help to coach their children to value the benefits of they will receive over time.
3. Parents hold their children accountable to what they enroll in. Whether a camp, seasonal sport, a lifestyle activity, long term sport or community service whatever they commit to making certain they stick to it.
I remember as a boy it being installed in me that if you sign up for the season, not feeling like going doesn’t matter -- you stick through it and fulfill the commitment. What a powerful lesson for me to have been gifted with when I was young. It would be difficult to count how many times I have leaned on this habit as an adult.
Take the time to check in with the three common practices to install self-discipline in your child. It isn’t magical, but in some cases, sadly, it is still too uncommon. Don’t be swayed in the moment of weakness or inconvenience; instead, give your children the long term gift of self-discipline. Believe me in the long run your children will thank you and pass on the valuable lessons to their children as well. Thank you, Mom!
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