We’ve all had one, a ticket for parking, speeding, illegal lane change, etc. We pay the fine, go to traffic school, remain conscientious for a minute then revert to our old habits until we get checked again.
For some of us, like me, once is never enough. I convince myself I will never get caught again or I can get before a judge and get it dismissed. However, if you’re really like me, you push it to the razor’s edge.
All that traffic school, all those fines were not deterrent enough. At one point I needed a lawyer to get into traffic school level three, which was an anger management class. Obviously, punishment didn’t work well for me.
What’s my point?
It wasn’t until my husband and I took a parenting class taught by our therapist at a local church that we began to figure out our method of parenting was horribly flawed, dysfunctional, sick. We simply were pulling from our own childhood experience and parenting through our own flashbacks, experiences.
When we were kids and did what we wanted there was hell to pay. My husband’s parents shaved him bald for misdeeds. My parents grabbed a belt, a race track or anything that would inflict pain and use it on our body leaving bruises, cuts and other marks.
What we needed was discipline: instruction and training. We were disciples of our parents discipline.
The Greek word for disciple is “mathetes” meaning “a learner.” The root of that word is “manthano” where we get the word “math” meaning thought accompanied by endeavor.
At birth we should have been enrolled in the “Mom and Dad school of how to do life.” Instead, we were drafted into the armed forces. My parents were drill sergeants. Basic training was, “Do as I say and not as I do … or else.” They were really good at giving marching orders without much direction.
The only thought accompanied by endeavor was, “Where’s the belt?” accompanied by beating the kids. They had no training so it was the blind leading the blind, a pattern that went on for generations. In order to break this cycle of abuse, someone had to discover a better way.
It wasn’t until we learned our upbringing showed clear patterns of systematic abuse. I’m sure socioeconomics played a role but that didn’t change the truth: We needed to parent differently.
We had to admit we didn’t know what we were doing. We had to discover a better way. Over time and as our “village” grew, we networked with parents and cultivated amazing strategies for motivating our kids to make good choices.
We learned pain was the best motivator as they learned actions have consequences, logical, natural or both. We learned our kids desperately wanted to please us and we learned we desperately wanted to shower them with love and rewards.
The way we needed to demonstrate love was by exercising patience and allowing time to take time. After all love is spelled T-I-M-E. Fortunately, awareness was all it took to “unlearn” bad habits and practice good ones.
If we can take training classes for how to train our dogs then parent training classes should also be the norm.
Posts in this series
Parenting with posttraumatic stress disorder
Discipline requires training, love spelled t-i-m-e
Beatings/Spankings are abuse: plain and simple
Parenting, like marriage, requires work
Parenting is a lifelong-learning proposition
Stop, look, listen and ask yourself questions
The high art of juggling
Downtime: the golden goose of PTSD
Worldwide parenting with PTSD Awareness Day
Parenting is a high call no matter your lot
The drought before the drought
Being misunderstood is a symptom
You are being forged in fire
Awakenings podcast: Parenting with PTSD
For single parents
A tribute to single parents