Relationship: The Foundation of Discipline

Written by: Dr. John Carosso
How beneficial is time-out, taking away the TV, or ‘grounding’ a child from going outside? Of course, all of these can be effective, as most parents have come towjW find, but if you rely too heavily on these strategies, what happens? Well, first, your household can become like a gulag; not too pleasant. Second, you and your  child will be miserable. That’s why I recommend relying on the ‘softer and closer approach (see the post, “softer and closer approach”). However, no matter what discipline you attempt, it will all go to waste, and be like banging your head against the wall, if you don’t have a healthy, positive, and pleasant RELATIONSHIP with your child.

The key to parenting and discipline is you and your child doing things together, laughing and enjoying each other’s company, and spending time (quality and quantity time) in fun activities. Absent a healthy relationship, there is no glue to connect a parental direction to the subsequent (hopefully) compliant act. Kids comply because, ultimately, they love their parents, want their parents to be happy, want to get-along and have a good relationship, and realize that ‘we’re all in this together’ so I might as well do my part.

If your child is complying predominately due to a fear of punishment, then you’re in trouble. Your child’s ‘compliance’ is then based in manipulation, avoidance, and tasks are completed superficially and marginally.  Instead, but your relationship with your child and you’ll notice what it’s like to have a ‘disciple’ (a willing follower), and it’s a lot more fun.

God Bless.  By the way, I welcome any comments or questions.

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Dr. John Carosso

Dr. Carosso has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed Child Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist working in private, inpatient, outpatient, residential, school, and home settings. He is Clinical Director of Community Psychiatric Centers (cpcwecare.com), a licensed Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, and operates both the Autism Center of Pittsburgh (autismcenterofpittsburgh.com) and the Dyslexia Diagnostic and Treatment Center (dyslexiatreaters.com).