Originally Posted by mamaUK
could you talk a bit more about this? I'm really interested , it's so strong in society that children must do as they told and if they do not obey they are naughty. I would like to explore other options other than making my children 'obey'. I often say to my children when I am very tired and exhausted 'you're just not doing as you are told/asked' and feel bad afterwards.
I'm not the poster who wrote this, but... Come visit the Gentle Discipline forum! There are lots of good resources there on this idea (btw- GD doesn't mean "no D"... It means disciplining with respect and the idea of being a teacher and a guide instead of a dictator).
You are so right- the idea we have for kids is "do as I say". Teaching a child to discern for themselves what is right is MUCH harder. It is messy, it takes allowing them to make "poor" choices to experience the consequences (within reason, obviously nothing truly dangerous). It takes patience, lots of explaining and a measure of flexibility. All this is labor intensive and takes a leap of faith that eventually the lessons will be learned (and also a tough skin, as some people feel they will be harshly judged for their child's "mistakes" in this learning process). It us much "easier" if your child just "does what you say", but... it is superficial. You "look good" as a parent of a "well behaved child", your child just goes along doing what she is told, but how does this help her become a better, stronger, more understanding person? If we go along by the idea that our children are, at heart, good people and want to do the right thing, then enabling them to do it by arranging situations where it is easy for them to do the right thing and when choices in behavior need to be made, we help them see the choices, then, they will do their best.
If you want blind followers, then the Pearls are extreme, but the "right" idea. Punishment or pain for bad, maybe treats for good. But if you want leaders, independent thinkers and children who grow up feeling that they were treated as sentient people and not pets, then it is a long, messy and very difficult process of teaching a little person of empathy, social expectations, responsibility, and self-awareness. "Discipline" becomes the partnership that it inherently is. Parents lead, describe, keep safe, set boundaries and choose environments. Kids do the best they can, learn, discuss, and give back.