Latest Articles from the Blog

What is Discipline?

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Practical Parenting | 1 comment

“How much more precious is a little humanity than all the rules in the world?“ —Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgment of the Child   Pause for a second and ask yourself, “What does the word discipline mean to me? How do I define it?” Over the course of writing this book, my definition has evolved. I have now come to see discipline on three levels. The first is the noun form of discipline, as in “Over the years, Ellie displays more and more discipline.” In the book, we refer this version of discipline as “self-discipline” and define the healthy version as the ability to regulate one’s own behavior and act in accord with one’s values and aspirations. The second level of discipline occurs between two or more people and is a verb: “I had to discipline my daughter today when she misbehaved.” There are healthy and unhealthy versions of this verb form. The latin root word, disciplinare, means “to teach.” The question then becomes, do we know what methods are healthy and which are unhealthy? What are the upsides and downsides of each attempt “to educate”—as the French refer to it—our children so that they may one day be able to steer their own ship? The third level of discipline is the really important one. First, a quick word about how I came by it. One night I was watching a video by Gordon Neufeld, and he made the comment that one of the more obscure definitions of discipline is […] Read more…

What Parents Want

Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 in Practical Parenting | 0 comments

“For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult task of all……the work for which all other work is but preparation.  It is a high inducement to the individual to ripen…a great exacting claim upon us, something that chooses us and calls us out to vast distances.”  Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet   In my conversations with parents, it all boils down to two main desires. First and foremost, we want our kids to thrive—to live fulfilling lives and be engaged in a path toward reaching their full, unique human potential. Second, we also want some degree of harmony and mutual enjoyment of each other along the way. Can these both be achieved simultaneously? And if so, how? These are the questions we address in Mindful Discipline.     When we step back and look at the various competing philosophies of parenting and discipline, we often see worldviews that do not accurately represent the science or the reality, but instead are often one-sided expressions of particular mind-states that we all share on a fundamental level. For example, the authoritarian mindset sees acts of flexibility and kindness as signs of weakness and coddling that ultimately ruin the character of a child. On the other side of the spectrum, the permissive mindset views guidance as interference and boundary setting as traumatic to a child’s developing psyche. While occasionally these assessments may be true, often they are not. Anytime a wholesale philosophy gets rigidly pasted over […] Read more…

All Joy and No Fun

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Practical Parenting | 0 comments

In her book All Joy and No Fun, Jennifer Senior provides an awesome sociological look at the paradox of parenting perfectly summed up in its title. In this post, I am going to focus on the “no fun” part and provide some insights on how to approach the challenges of parenting in ways that make the experience a little more enjoyable, increases your well being, and will help you continue to grow as a person. Lets start with some of the “no-fun facts.”   Sleep deprivation — Studies show that when we drop below getting 6 hours of sleep a night, the effect on happiness is like living on a 30k income (as compared with getting more than 7 hours a night which correlates to the considerable less stressful 90k income bracket). That is a whole lot of “no-fun” right there.   Less predictablity and control — The more chaotic and less predictable our lives are, the more stress we experience. This is a result of what psychologists call “ego depletion” and it leads to more irritability and less self-control (Now sprinkle in some shame: “I can’t believe I just said that to my kid…”)   Boredom and anxiety — Parenting tends to pull us to the extremes of experience. Sometimes—especially with very young children—we find ourselves “bored out of our minds.” But within a matter of seconds, that can flip over to sensory and emotional overload as our toddler begins throwing an uncontrollable fit that becomes 100% our problem […] Read more…