Episode #18:

Discipline Rule #1


Imagine yourself at a backyard bbq where the kids are swimming in a neighbor’s pool. You notice your child struggling, losing their ability to stay above water and starting to sink.

Do you call out from the sidelines, “Kick your feet! Show me your scooping arms! Come on pull it together!”

I hope not.

You grab them and scoop them to safety.

When our kids are in the midst of big feeling moments (aka tantrums and meltdowns!) it’s not the time to teach lessons and use logic. They need to be scooped out of the moment using your own calm and connection.

This feels counterintuitive. To not address rude, disruptive, disrespectful behavior in the moment feels too permissive. Feels like you’re not disciplining. Feels like you’re letting them get away with being bad.

But the root of the word discipline means to teach, not to punish. And when our kids are flooded with big, emotional energy they are not available to learn. They need you to “save” them, to help them return to their calmer selves where you can then teach the lessons. And they can actually hear them.

On today’s “Good Enough Parenting “podcast, I share my #1 discipline rule (quoted from Gary Landreth, the father of play therapy!):




This is the first thing I teach parents in my practice and something I remind myself every day.

When my kid is showing big misbehavior, they’re stressed. And a stressed brain is not a brain available for learning. So save my breath, connect to their brain and body, and give the moment some time and space.

Tune in to hear how to throw your kid an emotional life preserver – and next week I’ll share how to teach them swimming lessons.