All anger has somewhere in its root a blocked goal or an unmet expectation. I want my commute to be smooth and nobody to cut me off in traffic … my expectation is NOT met, now I am angry. I want my children to not whine or argue with me … my expectation is NOT met, now I am upset. Not only am I not in control of my child, I am not in control of myself. If I allow this anger to affect how I discipline my child, it will most likely be counterproductive to the teaching process. Remember anger in a parent only serves to lose the respect of the child. So, how do we take the anger out of discipline? Over the next several weeks, I would like to share 4 steps for taking the anger out of discipline:
1. Expect the misbehavior
2. Be prepared with the proper discipline
3. Put the tension where it belongs
4. See the discipline as teaching
If anger is a result of unmet expectations, then perhaps we would do well to take a good look at our expectations. (This principle can be applied to marriage, work, friendship … any area of life, really.) If my goal and expectation is for my 5 year old to always share his toys and never hit, I will be sorely disappointed. If expect him to need discipline, and I am prepared and ready to administer the discipline, and my goal is for him to learn to obey only after a long process of teaching, then this is a reasonable goal.
Next week: Being prepared for discipline and putting the tension where it belongs.