Tara Kennedy-Kline
My 20th Reality of 2012 came to me as I was responding to a post on "Should we discipline our children". One of the contributors has a very firm platform from which she speaks on parenting. Although I do not always agree with her...I honestly respect her conviction and dedication to bring peace to our world through parenting.

The following post was in response to several comments that boiled down to: There is NEVER a time to discipline or punish a child...and rules are just another tactic parents use to force their authority over children.

That being said, here is what I realized for ME as a parent:

Being the ever "grey" area...I feel I must say that there are exceptions to almost any scenario in life. I believe the part that has me concerned is the part about not allowing "rules".

First I must level the field by saying that I do believe there is a difference between Discipline and Punishment. I do believe that Discipline is a natural process of modeling to teach and guide. And I do believe that punishment is punitive action meant to change a behavior.

However, I do not believe that punishment is strictly physical, I do not believe that all punishment is harmful and I do not believe that there is NEVER a time when punishment is necessary...

let me explain...

One of the definitions of punishment is to cause pain (which I do not condone) the other is to cause discomfort. Discomfort is not universally "pain" induced.

I can cause my child discomfort by telling them to leave the room if they are being disrespectful to my adult friends. I can cause my baby discomfort by removing him from the breast while nursing should he bite me.

In these cases, my idea of "discomfort" can also be called "natural consequences"...and are in deed, by definition, punishment.

So yes, I do believe that their are times when rules, boundaries or principles that we have set are challenged, broken or tested and that we as "Mentors" and parents, must use punishment (i.e.: cause discomfort) to discipline (i.e.: guide/teach) our children in the course of their journey into adulthood.

By standing up for our beliefs, rules, agreements and principles, we teach our children integrity, accountability and respect...for others as well as themselves.

I also believe that one of the biggest contributors to bullying is that we have abandoned the concept of modeling and upholding boundaries. When we teach our children that there are no consequences for disrespecting a person's boundaries (be those rules, limits, opinions, beliefs or personal space) we teach them apathy and arrogance and at the same time embed in them the belief that they have no right to create their own boundaries.

Furthermore, by allowing children to believe that they are "untouchable" and I mean that in a metaphorical way, not in a physical way, we make them fearless...and without fear of consequences, we are left without conscience or emotional intelligence.

Free will means "free to choose", not "free to abandon all rational behavior". If there are no "poor choices" than we are left with the concepts of either perfection or chaos...both of which are too absolute to be healthy and both of which will eventually cause total breakdown.

Children, as all human beings, need to be aware that they are in total control of their actions and in some cases, their "actions" or "choices" may violate another person's rules or boundaries and that person probably will not have the connection and relationship to discuss or debate with them.

In Stop Raising Einstein, Discover the Unique Brilliance in Your Child...and You! I wrote:

"A child is responsible for how she or he reacts and thereby the results that she or he creates."

Not all of those results will be ideal. Some of them will be met with discomfort. It's all part of the reality of our life and the process of learning and growing through experience and lessons
Tara Kennedy-Kline
I am a very emotional and highly spirited person.

I cry at the drop of a hat and I have a deep seeded need for people to like me.

My "Love Languages" are: words of affirmation and physical touch.

So when a person like me comes into her "passion years" (between 40 & 55) sex becomes more than just an act...it turns into that "thing" that makes us feel beautiful, sensual, desirable, loveable and loved. It becomes an affirmation that we are not only needed, but wanted. And for many, it becomes as necessary as food and water…

So then why is it that so many of us Moms hit this sexual revolution just when our bodies and our lives begin to rebel against us?

I swear…on the exact same day as my libido spiked that’s also when my metabolism crashed, the lock on my bedroom door broke, the kids starting asking why they can't have a baby sister and my husband found a renewed love of video games and that couch cushion on the far right!!!! (Ok...maybe that didn’t all happen on the exact same day…but it sure felt like it!)

But seriously...is this some kind of cosmic game? 'Cuz if it is...another thing the universe needs to know about me is I HATE TO LOSE!

So here it is: I'm just putting it out there that I am going to do whatever it takes to get my groove on...Even if that means I have to go back to doing P90X, install my own lock on the bedroom door and start playing old George Michael tapes while I dance in front of that couch cushion on the far right!

"Well I guess it would be nice…”
Tara Kennedy-Kline
This was a sucky morning!

A Cold, dreary, Monday, can’t get my car out of it’s snow/ice prison, kid#1 forgot his saxophone, husband didn’t dig out my car, kid#2 won’t get out of bed, pants don’t fit, burnt the toast, put your coat on over your pajamas, missed the bus, slipped down the hill on the ice, hate my hair, screw this day, where the hell is my coffee? Cancel all my appointments I’m going back to bed! kind of morning!!!

It was the kind of morning that makes loving happy moms turn into screaming, crying nut balls who lash out irrationally.

I tried to be calm…I tried to be all the things and use all the techniques that I as a coach tell my clients to follow…but today, I lost it. I had a BAD morning!

Should I be thankful I woke up this morning? Yes, yes I should
Should I be thankful for everything around me? Sure.
Should I take into consideration how blessed I am? Of course.
Should I understand that it was not my family’s intention to piss me off? WHAT ever!

But today, all that stuff just wasn’t working for me! What I needed to do was throw a fit!
What I needed to do was all that crap that I tell my sons to do when they are mad and need to get out their anger without hurting someone!!!
I needed to punch pillows!
I needed to scream into my blankets!
I needed to throw snowballs at my car!
I needed to kick empty boxes until they smashed!!!
I needed to write big bold curse words on my dry erase board IN CAPITAL LETTERS!
…and then, I needed a time out.

So I did all of it! And now, I am calm.
Now I am relaxed and ready to take a look at what really happened this morning that made our day so crazy…and I what we need to do as a family to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

And you know what else happened? My kids got to see me lose my temper. They got to see me flip out and lose “it” without losing control. They got to see me handle my crap exactly the way I tell them too. They got to see that just because we had a bad morning, that doesn’t have to mean we must have a bad day, or week, or month, it just means we have something to evaluate and correct for. They got to see that although Mom is a “coach” Mom is also human, but being “human” doesn’t permit me to be stupid and break stuff or hurt others...that is how animals attack.

So today I realized that I CAN have a bad day! I can Lose my temper & allow my anger as long as I bring it back & learn from it. 'Cuz That’s what it looks like “When Coaches Attack!”
Tara Kennedy-Kline
You know what I just realized?

It's not that I dislike animals...I just don't like PETS!

Suuuuure, they start out all cute and fluffy and make the kids soooooo happy...

And then, 6 months later, they're nothing more than eating,pooping, stinky vet bills with feet! That MOM has to take care of.

Yeah, I just realized I don't like PETS!
Tara Kennedy-Kline
Recently, my family and I were hanging out with a group of friends and their kids. The children were playing nicely (ok, they were going nuts...but that's what kids should do outside, so we call that "playing nicely") and then one of the kids came to the group of parents and stated that one child was "being a bully".

At first, the parents all went into embarrassed, defensive mode and told the child to stop tattling on their friend...but then I asked the child "what did this kid do that felt like bullying?" Turns out, when we actually listened, we realized that the boy was right...the other kids was acting like a bully!

What happened next was kind of disturbing in that the dad of the kid proceeded to flip on his child and call him names and threaten unreasonable punishment...but I knew that was out of embarrassment so a few of us Moms politely stepped in and escorted the boy back up to the playroom where we spoke to all the children respectfully but sternly about being good to your friends.

The whole thing calmed down and was forgotten rather quickly, but it got me thinking about the things we do and the "seeds we plant" as parents to raise our children to react to or even become bullies.

I believe our children are a result of their environment. As parents, we are the models of the behaviors we eventually realize in our kids.

Something as simple as telling a little white lie on the phone in front of our children is telling them that our integrity is not as important as our comfort or our reputation… That plants a seed.

• When we correct our children by yelling at them, belittling them and calling them names, we are showing them that it's okay to humiliate & hurt people and make them feel small when we are angry …And that plants a seed.

• When we discipline behind closed doors, or haul our children away to correct them, we are showing them that we are not proud of how we are handling that situation, so we must hide it. And that plants a seed.

• When parent A gets angry and flips out over an issue that parent B has already established is not worthy of losing it over, but does nothing to stand up for the child, that sends the message that the child is not worth standing up for. And that plants a seed.

• When we start a conversation within earshot of our kids that begins with: "You won't believe what so-and-so did" or "I promised not to say anything, but..." we are teaching our child that not only is it ok to gossip, but it's also ok to break promises and trust. And that plants a seed.

• When we tell our children to "be quiet" or "don't talk back" when someone offends them or someone they care about, we are teaching them to be apathetic and submissive. And that plants a seed.

• When we retreat from or ignore a person who needs help, we show them that we shouldn't inconvenience ourselves to stand up for others. And that plants a seed.

• When we contradict ourselves or our values for the sake of avoiding conflict, we show our children weakness and helplessness. And that plants a seed.

• When we've had a bad day or are PMS-ing and snap at our kids for things we know shouldn't bother us, we are showing them it's acceptable to legitimize or allow our bad behavior based on our mood. And we plant a seed.

• And when we take the time to listen to our children, to get to know them, to find out what they love and what brings them joy. When we take the time to discover each others passions, beliefs and Unique Brilliance, and we stand up for them and honor what they care about...then we empower our children to love themselves and honor themselves too. And THAT plants a seed.

• When we stand up for our children, others and what is "right" in their presence. THAT plants a seed.

• When we hold our children accountable for their actions and their words, THAT plants a seed.

• When we keep the promises we make to our children, others and most importantly ourselves. THAT plants a seed.

• When we apologize for hurting someone's feelings, breaking an agreement, or not being truthful and then we commit to not making the same mistake again. THAT plants a seed.

So I suppose that is what brings me to my Mom Reality Bytes #15:

Bringing up children is all about planting seeds. Before I sow seeds, I should consider what lesson my child will reap from them...and what kind of person I am "raising up" as a result.

1-17-2012
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