October 16

DISCIPLINE MONTH: DAY 16: “When you discipline a child, you prepare them for a responsible and accountable adulthood.” ― Gift Gugu Mona

A permissive parent is not doing the world or their child any favors. Some of us who grew up in homes where there were rules that we felt were too rigid decided to NOT discipline or hold children responsible for behaving well.

This creates a dynamic that is currently destroying our culture today. Children are rewarded for doing nothing, and this leads to entitlement and no respect for what they receive.

We see it in the millennial generation at this time. Too much “stuff” and not enough attention and time from parents…this is the result.

It takes work to discipline a child…or an adult. A great deal of time and attention…the two things that truly let you know you are loved. Not the hovering kind of attention that makes us all nervous…no one wants to be watched all the time.

But the kind of time and attention that lets another person (young or old) know that you are present to them. This IS love, the gift of my time and attention with nurturing and acceptance. It is also the only way we can learn to love ourselves.

Hyper-busy, running around and stressed-out parents are not present. They cannot be. And they know they are not giving their children what they truly need, so they bribe them with “stuff.” Which does NOT work.

Setting rules, knowing healthy boundaries, responsibility  for what they do and do not do, consequences for violating others’ boundaries and rules; these are what make a healthy adult. It can be learned later in life, but takes a great deal of vigilance and practice.

That is why there is so much relapse in recovery. We have not learned how to do these things or rebelled against them when we were young. Now we have to grow up and it is not as if we even want to. None of us wants to be a responsible grown up.

But the  world where we run around as entitled monsters is not a good place to live, for us or anyone else. We are angry and resentful that others expect us to be adults. Oh! I hated that!

However, the only intrinsic reward system for us to live by requires that we develop the discipline and the adult behavior that allows us to truly be free from consequences. I do love  that!

So, all those two-year-olds sitting in meetings, whining about paying consequences…welcome to recovery. May you learn to discipline yourself…back in the early days of treatment, there was a book written about you…called “King Baby.” And it was right on!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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