There is no question, disciplining your kids at any stage is tough. Take your pick between toddler tantrums, defiant preschoolers, and back-talking tweens.
Just what is the right way to discipline so you can raise emotionally happy children?
In an interview with parenting expert, Dr. Deborah Gilboa, aka Dr. G, she said, “It is not parents' responsibility to make their kids happy.” She goes on to say, “teach them the skills they need to find and make their own happy.”
Dr. G has written on her blog, “if you want to make them happy teach them to be confident, competent and strong relationship skills.”
Let’s start with the toddler years. I am in the midst of this difficulty with my little 3-year-old angel who for the most part is a joy. However, there are times when he can turn on a dime to exert his independence, and try to manipulate to get what he wants.
Dr. G said that we need to name the bad behavior for toddlers. Say something like, “We don’t hit.” Talk to them about positive relationships and behaviors that makes someone a good friend. Teach them what would be a “deal breaker.” She advocates teaching them to be respectful, even when they are angry.
It is really easy to give in, so they are compliant. In an article she wrote for the HuffingtonPost.com, Dr. G questioned another expert's opinion about what would make her toddler happy.
Dr. G wrote, “It involves a Snickers bar and Cartoon Network. But if you give him those things, then I don't really want to live with him. And you probably don't want him in your kids' preschool class, do you?”
She says teaching a positive attitude, good work ethic, perseverance, and character that builds confidence are the “crucial ingredients in happiness,” not candy and cartoons.
Dr. G does not believe in overdoing with praise or rewards. On her blog she wrote, “There is too much pressure on parents and educators to make kids happy, and see them succeed, it feels impossible to allow our kids to learn the hard life lessons.”
In our interview she recommended that parents allow kids to explore an interest or passion, “to let them become a stronger soccer player, learn a language not because they are going to play Carnegie hall but these help them build the skills for happiness.”
Teaching this foundation can help them later as tweens and teens which can be a difficult time. Dr. G encourages parents to teach them about what makes for positive relationships with their friends rather than judging their friends. She suggests that we ask them questions like, “What do you admire about that person? What do you like about them? How do you know that they respect you?”
Dr. G believes lessons now lead to happiness later. “I owe it to my kids to forego some of their happiness now, and my own, in order to teach them the respect, responsibility and resilience they need to choose admirable goals and accomplish them.”
Dr. Deb Gilboa - Interview. August, 2015.
“Raising Happy Kids– HuffingtonPost.com.” The Huffington Post. Web 1 September 2015.
“How Great Adults Let Kids Fail – AskDrG.com.” Dr. G. Blog. Web 1 September 2015.
Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist and Publicist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.
Joanne's fitness plans, recipes and lifestyle advice are available globally on her website http://www.happiwoman.com/ She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and children, where she runs her fitness and publicity business, JSK PR, http://www.jskpr.com/
Reviewed September 2, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith