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The patterns of behavior we witness in childhood become the template for our own way of parenting.
It’s because discipline focuses on behavior, not on the feel- ings driving the behavior, that it undercuts the very thing we are trying to accomplish.
We’ve been so schooled to impose “lessons” on our children that it feels counterintuitive to allow the lesson to emerge naturally out of the situation.
The reality is that children learn not because we tell them, but from how we relate to them. It’s the differ- ence between “doing to” ver- sus “doing with.”
To give a child things or deprive them because to do so matches our subconscious agenda—our unresolved emo- tional baggage—rather than aligning with their develop- mental needs, is to court conflict.
Each moment with our child is a reflection of the past and a foundation for the future.
It’s the dynamic that arises from insisting on our paren- tal agenda that creates the need for discipline.
When it comes to accepting ourselves as imperfect, we set the tone for our children. The degree to which they accept their imperfections tends to be the degree to which we accept and honor our own.
To be present for our children means to be aware of our own subconscious agenda so we don’t impose this on our children.
If a parent puts out the kind of vibes that welcome feel- ings, even when the feelings are difficult to tolerate, the child picks up on this, eventually learning how to manage their feelings in a healthy manner.
There are all kinds of ways we can help our children cope with their world. Creativity is what’s needed, not admonish- ment or discipline.
Our children didn’t come into the world to be our puppets. They came here to struggle, fumble, thrive, and enjoy—a journey for which they need our encouragement.