As you work to provide a positive program of loving discipline for your children, watch out for three things that can easily derail your parenting efforts: anxiety, perfectionism, and a tendency to live “one generation back.”
It’s easy for parents to be worried about making mistakes. Don’t let that happen to you. If something does go wrong, remember that you, like your kids, can always have a “do-over.”
This point is closely connected with the previous one. The false idea that you need to be perfect can prevent you from getting started. We’ll say it again: there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. If you have perfectionistic tendencies, deal with them so you can make this parenting journey with less stress and more confidence.
Living “One Generation Back”
If you’re like most of us, you can probably think of some ways in which your parents could have done a better job of raising you. If your parents were too strict on you growing up, you may try to fix your childhood experience by being overly lenient in your parenting. If your dad never attended any of your ball games, you may try to heal your disappointment by being at every one of your children’s games. Don’t get stuck trying to fix your childhood or think you’ll change it by how you parent today.
It’s a Journey
We need to remind ourselves that discipline is a journey, not a destination. It’s a process that begins the moment a child emerges from the womb and doesn’t end until each child leaves home. When boiled down to essentials, it’s all about practice, practice, practice. Your child needs practice, and so do you! So keep practicing your disciple-ing. Keep helping your children build the life skills of self-discipline, regulation, resiliency, balance, competence, and confidence—skills that make a person stronger and less likely to end up with thoughts of suicide.