Break the Cycle: Learn Positive Discipline with Kids, Rather than Punitive Control

by | Jun 17, 2022 | gsr | 8 comments

Positive Parenting Webinar

We know that parenting is the biggest responsibility we will ever have.

But we’ve been told such different things about the nature of that responsibility.

If you grew up in an evangelical church, chances are you were told that a parent’s job is to teach them to obey, because children are naturally deceitful and wicked. Their spirits need to be defeated and their will broken so that their hearts will be inclined to Christ instead.

You may have heard that you have to punish kids consistently and often for every infraction, because otherwise they will walk all over you. They will not learn to respect authority or to obey.

Children see you the way they see God; if they don’t obey you, how will they ever obey God?

You need to make them obey, so that they will recognize their need for God.

Their salvation is largely in your hands.

As we’ve been talking about on the blog recently, that’s a toxic way to approach parenting.

It ignores child development. It ignores children’s legitimate needs. And it makes children out to be the enemy.

And when our approach towards our kids is one of trying to control their behaviour or punish them for wrongdoing, we often push them away from us. We can create insecure attachment. They can grow up not being able to share themselves with us, and so they become secretive.

Outwardly they may be very compliant, but they feel far away from you. Why? Because they don’t feel as if they are safe.

Positive Parenting when Discipline Doesn't Work

What if there were a better way to parent our kids?

What if you could parent the way God parents? What if you could approach parenting not in a way to control your kids but to train them? What if instead of punishing your kids for every infraction you learned to recognize what it is they need in the moment, and use these things as teaching opportunities?

What if you could learn to be firm but kind? To set really clear boundaries, but also get your kids involved so that they feel part of the process and they don’t chafe against it?

What if you could understand WHY your kids act up, and WHY your discipline techniques don’t work–and find something that instead brings harmony?

That’s what I want to help you do.

So many of us grew up in harsh homes, and we want to break the cycle, but we have absolutely no idea how.

We’ve been told that to not spank our kids is tantamount to handing our kids over to the devil–and so we’re scared stiff to try something else, even though spanking isn’t working and makes us feel awful.

We feel like we’re always having the same conflicts with our kids, and the home is chaotic, and we just want peace. We want to enjoy our kids.

Last month on the podcast Wendy Snyder from Fresh Start Families joined us to talk about positive parenting.

So many of you loved her podcast and wrote to me asking for more information. So Wendy and I decided to get together and host a FREE workshop on what positive parenting looks like.

All you have to do is sign up!

It’ll be at June 21 at 3 pm EST, and it would be awesome if you could join us live so  you can ask questions. But even if you can’t be there live, you can still watch the video afterwards if you sign up now. 

Positive Parenting Webinar

If you’re tired of making empty threats; if you’re tired of the behaviour you don’t want repeating; if you’re tired of feeling disconnected from your kids–I really do want to help.

And I want to help you stop this cycle where you ask them to behave; you threaten them; they act up more, and finally in anger you yell or spank. Or just want to go lock yourself in your room. (I did that once!)

I wish I had had Wendy when Rebecca was 2, because we handled her tantrums all wrong. We honestly didn’t know any better.

But now we can now! And I see Rebecca handling her son Alex so differently, and it’s absolutely lovely to watch.

I don’t want to become a parenting blog, because even though my husband is a pediatrician–marriage is my thing.

But so many of you are here because you’re tired of bad teaching about marriage. And you know what? The same bad teaching has infiltrated into our parenting.

So while I don’t want to spend a lot of time tackling this myself, I do want to point you to people who do it well.

Wendy does. And I hope you can join us!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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8 Comments

  1. A2bbethany

    Currently my toddler isn’t doing too bad! She’s my sweetest little helper and loves her baby. I just have the odd and unpleasant job of teaching her how to share nicely. So far she immediately screams and makes a tantrum out of it. I think I know how, I just need guinea pigs to create situations to practice. I already asked Ms Wendy a webinar question about a harder issue, but feel free to mention this one too!

    Reply
    • Meredith

      I wouldn’t force her to share. Toddlers are not cognitively capable of understanding the concept and she will interpret it as you forcing her to give up a toy for no reason. Sharing is something that comes much later.

      Reply
  2. Jo R

    Maybe this is just me, having been raised by an alcoholic perfectionist father and being a perfectionist myself (probably from both nature and nurture), and becoming a believer at age 21, and obviously anxious to do everything perfectly for my heavenly Father, but I hear all this “break the kid’s will” and “instant obedience” stuff, and I keep waiting for God to zap me with some kind of punishment, small or large, for every sin or even just some lapse of, shall we say, complete doormat-ness, I mean submission, to my husband or the slightest suggestion that his idea to do X may not be such a good option compared to Y. I mean, I literally felt like I couldn’t even have a different opinion on what we should do on Saturday for fun, let alone disagree on a substantive issue. Wouldn’t having my own ideas be inherently disrespectful and unsubmissive? And wouldn’t God punish me to break that will? 😳

    But again, maybe that’s just me.

    Reply
  3. Jane Eyre

    At the beginning of Anne of Green Gables, Marilla teaches Anne to pray. As Anne awkwardly stumbles through it, Marilla realises that Anne, bereft of the love of parents and family, cannot understand God’s love.

    That has definitely influenced me, maybe more than it should. How is my child supposed to deeply and naturally believe in God’s outpouring of love if home isn’t a loving place?

    From the other side, control eventually fails. “Eventually” might be the teen years or it might be when your kid leaves you to rot in the nursing home. But your kid is eventually going to move out, get a job, and you will have no control over them except your ability to push buttons, bully, and inflict emotional pain. Serious question: if you operate by control for 18 years, how will YOU adjust to never having that ability again? How will YOU have a relationship with your kid?

    Reply
    • Jo R

      “How is my child supposed to deeply and naturally believe in God’s outpouring of love if home isn’t a loving place?”

      Exactly.

      When home is nothing but rules and punishment, when Dad can behave in ways explicitly forbidden to the kids, and even to Mom, when the slightest lapse incurs pain of some kind, how do people think kids will grow up to understand God? To love Him with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength? To grow up NOT thinking that love is more or less synonymous with fear? No, they’ll grow up thinking that loving God pretty much means being terrified of Him.

      Instead, kids (and some adults) wind up thinking God is capricious, vindictive, utterly unrelatable, unquestionable, unapproachable. He sure as hell ain’t loving in any kind of tender, crawl-up-in-His-lap-and-be-held kind of way. He won’t be the One kids (and some adults) will turn to in trouble, because if they’re in trouble, then they almost certainly did something wrong and sinful, which will only bring sure and certain punishment.

      So instead of being the most loving being in the universe, God is scary, and you better be able to read His mind if you don’t want to get hammered. Then when “men of God” lay out their twisted bullshit as absolute truth, well, people wind up gaslighting themselves.

      (And I forgot to say in my earlier comment that I’m now in my mid-fifties, so life hasn’t been much fun.)

      Reply
  4. CMT

    Signed up!

    We aren’t worrying about whether we’re sinning by not spanking our kids in our house, but not spanking doesn’t automatically equate to calm, gentle parenting in our experience. Without the skills to really do things differently, even with good intentions you wind up reverting to (non physical) controlling tactics – getting loud, giving escalating consequences you don’t really want to follow through on but now feel like you have to, time outs on top of time outs… ugh. Everybody’s stressed, the kids aren’t really learning anything, and they feel like Mom and Dad are always exhasperated with them about something.

    Will the webinar be geared for both parents? I want my husband to listen in, he won’t mind if it’s aimed more at moms but would be good to know what to expect.

    Reply
  5. Kayla

    The webinar was good!!
    The only problem is, I struggle to see God as a Father. It’s not just about spanking but the general view of God as someone who judges, and I struggle with the Old Testament. Is there a book/article/video that covers this? I’m not sure how to change as a parent until my view of God changes.

    Reply
    • Kayla

      Nevermind, I remember Wendy mentioned “Jesus the Gentle Parent” and I’m going to look into that right now. 🙂

      Reply

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