Your child has an inner-critic. You do, too. We all do.
The louder our inner-critic the lower our sense of self-worth.
As a parent, there are some things you can do to give your child a better chance at quieting their inner-critic. The way you discipline your child has an effect on how strong their inner-critic is and how much power it has over them.
Here are 4 tips for disciplining your child in a way that will bolster their sense of self-worth rather than diminish it.
Differentiate between behavior and identity. There is a difference between what your child does and who she is. Be careful you are not labeling a child as “bad”, even inadvertently. Ensure they know it’s their behavior that is in question, not their basic goodness and value.
Watch how often you are punishing or criticizing your child. Pick your battles. Don’t criticize or punish your child for every little thing or soon they will begin to think that there is something inherently wrong with them.
Be consistent. If you are choosing to punish a certain behavior, punish it every time. Have clear rules, clear consequences and consistent enforcement. Inconsistency can lead a child to believe it’s not what they are doing, but they themselves that are wrong.
Separate your negative emotions from your discipline. Children are able to tolerate quite a bit of criticism without it damaging their self-worth so long as it is not also accompanied by anger or parental withdrawal. Anger and withdrawal will send the message that “you are bad and I am rejecting you.” You can discipline out of love instead of anger.
Take power away from their inner-critic rather than strengthen it and you will notice a positive change in your child.