Discipline 101: It's not about your kids!


"All we do is argue about how to make our kids behave!" Discipline can be one of the most challenging parts of parenting. There isn't one "right" way to parent. There isn't a "how to succeed in parenting" class and test to pass before we become parents.

The hardest part of all, kids don't come with instruction manuals! What we're left with is figuring it out ourselves as the days go by. The truth is, most of us parent the way our parents did because, well, that's what we know! Our kids just don't listen to us! When I ask about discipline and family rules parents usually give me a long list of what hasn't worked. Underlying all of the things on that list is a complaint about parenting styles. One parent complains about their partner being too firm, the other complains their partner is too lenient. The one thing they both agree on is they are sick and tired of fighting! Usually, when couples argue about discipline it's typically some combination of the following reasons:

  • Different styles of parenting

  • Different rules during their own childhoods

  • Conflicting expectations for behavior

  • A breakdown in communication between the partners

What's the fighting really about?

While the list above is about the couple's differences, I always bring parents back to the very basics of building a strong family foundation. When there is a conflict between parenting partners it's typically a difference in 2 things: 1. Each parent's vision for their family 2. The values they want to instill and the meaning of each value

When conflicts occur, it is critical to look at what each person is defending. It is very important to understand what each parent had envisioned their family life to be and what values they see as a "must have" in the family. When talking about their family vision, a few of the questions I ask include: 1.