No More Power Struggles! Parenting with Discipline that Connects

by | Sep 8, 2023 | Parenting Teens, Parenting Young Kids | 7 comments

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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.

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.

It even gives a distorted view of who God is!

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 stop getting into power struggles and stop yelling, but find creative, positive ways to address behavior? 

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.

We’re tired of yelling. We’re tired of the power struggles. But we literally don’t know what else to do.

last week Wendy from Fresh Start Family joined us to talk about positive parenting.

So many of you loved her podcast! We talked about how to get out of the yelling and power struggle mindset, and I told my story of the things I got frustrated at when my girls were 9 and 11–and what I wished I had done instead.

We only scratched the surface, and we want to provide more help.

So Wendy and I are offering a FREE workshop on what positive parenting looks like–parenting with connection, compassion, but also firm discipline.

All you have to do is sign up!

It’ll be next Thursday, September 14, at 1 pm EST, and it would be awesome if you could join us live so  you can ask questions. (Plus there will be door prizes for those of you who are there live!).

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. And I wish I had had Wendy when Rebecca was 11 and I was constantly in a power struggle with her and her little sister over chores. We honestly didn’t know any better.

But now we can! And I see Rebecca handling her 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!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

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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7 Comments

  1. Jo R

    “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.”

    Actually, if one changes out in much of your post the references to “parenting” and “the child” to be “marriage’ and “the wife,” the teaching is, in many respects, identical.

    Not that you, Sheila, are teaching these things. But what’s the underlying message in “Christian” teaching about marriage? Wives should make themselves compliant and smaller, wives should instantly fall in with whatever the husbands want whenever the husbands want it, there’s no questioning of the “authority figures” in the relationship, and on and on and on.

    And now, I have to show the emoji. 🤮

    Reply
  2. Nathan

    > > if one changes out in much of your post the references to “parenting” and “the child” to be “marriage’ and “the wife,” the teaching is, in many respects, identical.

    I never thought about it that way, but it seems to be a strong equivalent relationship. Women are inherently wicked, women need to learn to obey, etc. And sometimes this teaching even overlooks physical abuse on the part of the husband.

    As has been mentioned on this site before, such a philosophy may lead to an outward show of compliance and good behavior, but it messes people up on the inside.

    Reply
    • Nessie

      ‘such a philosophy may lead to an outward show of compliance and good behavior, but it messes people up on the inside.’

      The term “whitewashed tomb” comes to mind.

      Reply
  3. Connie

    I do have a caution. When we do anything out of reaction and anger toward what was done to us, we nearly always swing too far the other way. Remember, this new way hasn’t yet been proven well and one day our children might find that one thing we did terribly wrong and swing back the other way too far again. I am of the spanking generation, at first, but I had so many children that I learned better over time before they all grew up. It was all we knew, we were afraid of failure, and everything we were taught was in the ‘control’ line. I see a definite tone of, “they should have known better, how could they have been so stupid’. We were born to moms who were isolated in the labour room for many hours alone, then put out for the delivery. Didn’t get to see their babies sometimes for days, and then only for a few minutes every 4 or 8 hours. We were told to not only bottle feed (medical science had found a better baby food), but make the baby hold its own bottle and don’t pick ‘it’ up except to feed and change. Let ‘it’ cry, or you’ll spoil ‘it’. Many of us didn’t like it but had no idea what else to do. I breast fed but was mocked by the medical staff and many others. The word bonding was not a thing. And then came Bill Gothard. He made a lot of sense when you had nothing much else. He said a thing that changed my life, though. He said that we can cry out to God when we are in trouble. That set in motion my learning to hear the voice of the Shepherd. Now I am concerned about all the voices out there that have some truth, but people are following other people and we’re back to eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of walking in the Spirit. We are all prone to deception.
    I’m seeing quite a few families who are ‘reasoning’ with their small children. Their brains are not capable of reasoning and so they are actually learning to rationalize and argue. They get attention by their constant pushing back. Don’t reward bad behaviour. They start yelling in the grocery store? Simple. Kindly and quietly pick them up (leave the full cart behind, the store workers would rather put your stuff away than deal with tantrums) and go home. The moment your voice raises even a bit, you’ve lost. The moment you start to beg and whine, they learn to beg and whine. Simple boundaries.
    When I tell people I taught piano, I get one of 2 responses. Either, “My mom forced me to practice, and I would never do that to my child”, or, “I wish my mom would have made me practice.” Gothard promised success, and now another group is doing the same. There are no guarantees. Ask Jesus about everything, and you’ll be surprised at the answers sometimes. He deals with each of us individually and we shouldn’t then go and write another book of rules. Some principles, yes, in love and honour.

    Reply
    • Bernadette

      “When we do anything out of reaction and anger toward what was done to us, we nearly always swing too far the other way.”

      Who is reacting out of anger? Maybe people are just learning how to do better, that could be why they reject the parenting philosophy of their parents generation.

      “Remember, this new way hasn’t yet been proven well and one day our children might find that one thing we did terribly wrong and swing back the other way too far again.”

      Which new way are you cautioning against? The webinar isn’t even up yet.

      Reply
    • Cynthia

      When I listened to the podcast last week, they specifically said you shouldn’t be reasoning with a toddler and sounding like a hostage negotiation. “Act not yak” is advice I was given when my kids were very young, and what Wendy seems to be teaching.

      That said, this stuff isn’t really that new. I’m almost 52, and my parents didn’t spank. I didn’t spank my kids either, and they are now 19, 20 and 23. We have 2 generations who are doing well.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Of course small children aren’t capable of reason. That’s what connection parenting is. It’s recognizing child development and working WITH your child.

      Reply

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