A child can't soar without containment
An excerpt from: Shefali Tsabary PhD. “The Conscious Parent”
Stephanie and her husband Phillip have three young boys who are out of control. Because the three are always fighting with each other, play dates are a nightmare and mealtimes a disaster. There’s no order in the house, the children rule the roost, and chaos reigns. It’s a household that’s completely lacking in respect, either on the part of the children or their parents.
Overwhelmed, Stephanie is in tears on a daily basis. Having grown up with a controlling, domineering mother, she has little sense of empowerment and feels easily victimized. Since conflict frightens her, she does her best to avoid it. Similarly, Philip grew up in a home where emotions were rarely expressed, which means he’s uncomfortable whenever he has to articulate his own. Because both Stephanie and Phillip lead emotionally constricted lives, they are afraid to find their authentic voice with their children. Of course, this couple’s children, being the spiritual gurus that children are, act in the way they do precisely to challenge their parents to address “their emotional baggage. When I observed these parents with their children, it was immediately clear there was no system to the parents’ discipline. The children had no clue how they were supposed to behave. For instance, the three boys were playing in the family room when, before long, they began throwing their toys all over the room and climbing on the furniture. When Jacob, the oldest and leader of the three, began to shake the lamps, Stephanie entered the room, saying, “Please don’t do that Jacob.” Jacob paid no attention. Again Stephanie spoke up: “I said, ‘Please.’ Please stop this behavior or you will get a timeout.”
None of the boys paid any attention. In a pleading voice, Stephanie repeated, “I said, ‘Please.’” When this had no effect, Stephanie turned to me, helpless, her eyes begging me to understand, as she explained, “I’m trying to discipline them, but no one is listening to me. Do you see how hard this is?” A moment later, the lamp fell on the floor and Jacob hurt his foot. Now Stephanie ran to him to take care of him. Jacob experienced no consequences, only hugs and kisses.
After a short while, Jacob returned to his play, engaging in the same behavior. Within minutes, there was another mishap, this time as a result of a fight between the three boys. Again Stephanie appeared at the door and said, “Boys, please don’t hurt each other.” The boys continued fighting. Still standing a distance away from them, their mother again pleaded, “Please don’t hurt yourselves.” No one listened.