The Science of Parenting

When My Child Misbehaves: Deciding on Discipline | S.8 Ep.6

March 10, 2022 Season 8 Episode 6
The Science of Parenting
When My Child Misbehaves: Deciding on Discipline | S.8 Ep.6
Show Notes Transcript

It’s inevitable: our child won’t always behave in ways we love. This week Lori and Mackenzie look at specific parenting practices and situations to help you find effective guidance and discipline strategies.

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Lori Korthals:

Welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast, where we connect you with research based information that fits your family. I'm Lori Korthals, parent of three in two different life stages. Two are launched and one is still in high school. And I'm a parenting educator.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks. And I'm a parenting educator. Today we'll talk about the realities of raising a family, and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. Hey, everybody, thanks for joining us today. We're excited to have you here. Our last episode of this season.

Lori Korthals:

I know all of this to bring us to the great guidance and discipline debate at the end. We're done debating.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, no more debate.

Lori Korthals:

Yeah, no more debate, right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Although we've looked at it from a lot of different ways, and you know, last week in particular, looking at some of the different ages and how our kids age and development affects our parenting and well, we're gonna kind of do a little season recap almost in the middle. Yeah. So yeah, I'll need to give a whole one now, I guess.

Lori Korthals:

All right. Okay, so just a reminder again, that all this season, our research citations and information came from a book called The Handbook of Parenting. Yes. Remember, we have volume five, and it's edited by Mark Bornstein. Specifically the chapter on discipline, discipline.

Mackenzie Johnson:

That's what we've been talking about. Discipline by Jennifer Lansford.

Lori Korthals:

All of a sudden, I was thinking about the next chapter that we get to write. So anyway, that's it. Stay tuned. But today, we are going to finish up by talking about which discipline strategies to use in which situations. Hmm, finally.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And honestly, this whole season we've been building to this, right? Yes, this is the question we have as parents is how do I decide what to do in a given situation? Particularly after my child did something I didn't like, how do I discipline? We know this is the question you have, and we know you've been waiting for us to answer it. But there's all this stuff we needed to talk about in order to inform it. So yes, yeah. We're excited to share it. So as a little recap, you've heard parts of this before, but to kind of kick us off thinking about how we decide on discipline, we're going to look at some research here, again, from Lansford. She says that one of the most important ways that as parents we shape our kids' behavior is through the use of proactive discipline to encourage desired behavior for the future, and reactive discipline to respond to misbehavior after it occurs. So she also tells us that effective discipline is characterized by being proactive more often than reactive, using reasoning to help children understand the impact of their actions, and avoiding corporal punishment.

Lori Korthals:

So we use both, right? So yes, yeah. The more proactive strategies we use, the more effective discipline happens, things happen, right? Yeah, effective. But we do have to use reactive strategies as well, because the reality is misbehaviors happen.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And we're going to talk a little later about how we do use proactive strategies after because we're planning for future behavior. So both coexist, but when we have the opportunity to teach what's desired and to think about teaching for future behavior, you're right. But it doesn't mean we never use reactive, and it doesn't mean that we always remember to use reasoning instead of forceful strategy. It means what's most effective is proactive. Yes, reasoning and those things.

Lori Korthals:

Which brings us right to our first piece of research, which says that parents don't use just one single form of discipline, not just one. But we actually vary our responses depending on the child's misbehavior, as well as the context that the misbehavior and situation occurs in.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And I think so often when it feels like there's a big debate around a discipline strategy, we're looking at one strategy, right, like spank or don't spank, timeout or don't. And we're talking grounding or not grounding, one specific, often reactive strategy that's up for debate. And this realization that we're not using one strategy all the time. Like, if you're a parent who's using timeout, you're not using it every single time something happens. We have this repertoire, this toolbox of lots of strategies, and even in one situation, we're not using just one. We're using several. Exactly, yeah. Okay. And so there was a study, a little dorky when I'm talking about this specific study. But I thought it outlined the things that influence how we decide beautifully. So in this study, they did these open-ended, in-depth responses from parents. The parents were in Hong Kong and Taiwan but basically they watch these little videos and vignettes of a child misbehaving. And then they asked the parents open-ended, how would you respond? Like, what would your discipline look like if this was your child? And so they look at all these responses and then put them together. And they talk about why and how the parent came to that decision. And so basically, parents, particularly this study was mothers, they endorsed different forms of discipline depending on a lot of different factors. So what helped them decide what they were going to do? These are the four things they listed out on what influenced.

Lori Korthals:

Okay, I love these.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Um, it's almost a framework. Yeah. So the first one was the setting in which the misbehavior occurred. So it influenced their discipline, whether they were at home, in public, at school or childcare. Right. So where it happened, the setting. The second one was who was present at the time of the misbehavior. Was it just me and my child? Were we with extended family? Were we with strangers versus an acquaintance or friend? So who was present? Also, I think this one's so important, which rules or conventions were violated? Right? So was this a safety concern? Was it related to our child's health? Was it related to what we feel like is socially acceptable? Like get off the ground. Right? What's socially acceptable is another one or even what's moral, right? This is like wrong or right, according to our values. And then the last one was the possible outcomes of the behavior. Right? So if my child's misbehaving, and I really don't feel like it's hurting anybody too much, or anything like that, that affects it, versus if I feel like they will get hurt or they will hurt someone else, it's inappropriate, right? It doesn't belong in this social situation. And so yeah, those four reasons that parents listed. They said, the setting that it happened in, whether that's at home or in public, who was present when the misbehavior happened, what rules or conventions were violated, and the possible outcomes? And there's another one actually, there's a fifth. I said four earlier, there's a fifth one. Okay, how much conflict was involved? Ooh. So was it like a big power struggle and that affected our discipline strategy? Or was it just like, oh, come on, get off the ground. Yeah, so the amount of conflict is another one. Yeah. So again, all season we've been talking about things that influence our discipline. But these five factors influence how we decide on what discipline strategy we reach for.

Lori Korthals:

And if you think about the questions, oftentimes, as parenting educators, we get questions like, okay, so what do you do when? Yes, and the very first thing that goes through my mind is okay, I have to ask, okay, how old's the child? Where were you? Okay, who was all there? You know, what is the context? Right? And so I think that this list, just this study in general, shows that it's way bigger than, okay, what do you do if, right? There's so many impacts to that decision.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think you make a great point that sometimes we get questions about a behavior that we might toss to somebody else on our team, because it's one, maybe I don't relate or as a parent, that's not something I feel strongly about, which doesn't mean that another parent should not, but it means it can be different for us. And so the context around, well, that's not a value in our family and so that's not conflict for us. And so we might pass to somebody else on the team who has a little bit more. And I just think there's a lot of things. Yeah, there's a lot of context factors. Who, what, where, what's the age? Yeah, there's so many things that influence what we reach for and that we may not be reaching for just one because that's the second part of the study. Right? Hmm. Absolutely. Yeah. The other thing. Yeah, the other thing that they found is that when parents were responding, so they asked them, what would you do in this situation? Sometimes parents said, I would do this one specific thing. Other times parents said, okay, I would do this. And if that doesn't work, I would do this. Right. So they had like a backup or contingency.

Lori Korthals:

The backup plan.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Or they might put several strategies together, right? Like, yes, this, this and this. And if you don't choose, I will choose and they put together lots of strategies. I thought that this was just like a huge aha for me, and it's not fancy. It's not technical. But it's not one thing. It's lots of things. Discipline is lots of things, sometimes all at once, sometimes separated out in different contexts, and that a lot of things influence how we decide.

Lori Korthals:

They do. And so this is the part where we break your heart. If you came today thinking that we were going to give you the one right answer on what to do if, right, this is where we say, okay, so guess what? There are actually lots of options for you to do. What happens if? Yes. So what if we back up through the season episodes and pull out some strategies?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. We're not saying we're not going to give you any strategies. We're just saying we're not going to give you the strategy for the situation. Yes. So, we said lots of things influence, we listed them out. And from that study what they found, but also we pulled out from our team, each episode, we were basically pulling out the things that we thought were important that impact our discipline decisions. So in the first episode, you might remember, we really talked about, there was this quote that I really liked that I want to share again, that we promote compliance by having a responsive relationship with our child where their dissent is heard and respected. So again, we're going back to authoritative parenting. But you also might remember that our strategy that week was that there's three different types of discipline. So in some ways, this is kind of the answer to the question of what strategy if, and they basically told us the most effective of the types is reasoning, when we can reason with our kids. And so that was a really important takeaway from episode one is understanding what discipline is, the relationship that forms around it, and we can use reasoning,

Lori Korthals:

We can reason. And then the second episode, we talked a little bit about how important history was. And when we look at our history, and we look at the things that influence our decisions, they could be our own personal traits, our child's traits, our child's abilities, and even our culture. And those are all things that influence how we decide on what discipline strategies to use.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. And the idea of certain behaviors elicit certain responses from us, which is episode three is emotions, right? We talked about as parents, we have to make that intentional choice to regulate our behavior or emotions, so that they appropriately match a given situation. And this episode, we also learned about the three different types of strategies for aligning our goals with our child's, which is cooperative, empathetic, or forceful.

Lori Korthals:

So then episode four, we really looked at the parent child relationship. We looked at the climate of the relationship and how it affects our children's response to our attempts to guide them, to guide and shape their behavior. We also looked at some situational compliance or that short term compliance versus that committed or long term internalization of our rules.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Okay. And since since we recorded that episode, there is a study in it basically and through all the episodes, I kept moving this quote down. We can't not say it. But there's the study and the first tidbit of this episode, we talked about avoiding corporal punishment. We've mentioned it a few times throughout the season. And one of the reasons is this concept we talked about of committed versus situational compliance. So I want to tell you about the study that's the example. I love this example. Okay. So in this study, parents of two to five year olds, were wearing audio recorders. And so they wore it over six days, and they were recording all the interactions. They were looking specifically for instances of corporal punishment or spanking. And so they did find that there were families that were using it, of course, and what they found, interestingly, of those instances where parents use corporal punishment, about 75% of the time kids were misbehaving again within 10 minutes. Ten minutes. That is the definition of situational compliance.

Lori Korthals:

But it worked, Mackenzie, but it worked.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Exactly. And so in a sense, you're right, that did stop that behavior in the immediate but 75% of the time in that age group, with that study with that age group of two to five year olds, it was not working. Right. But again, 10 minutes again, it was happening. Yeah. So that whole concept of situational versus committed compliance is a big part and our parent child relationship is what affects it, right? Yes. Yeah. Whether they internalize that or whether it's a, well, I'll stop for a little bit so we stopped this thing. Right, so I stopped getting in trouble this way. Yes. So okay, all season it was like I love it but it doesn't go here. I was like, we cannot say it yet but fascinated me to no end. Oh, okay. So yes, the situational compliance of the parent child relationship. And last week we defined the thing called developmentalist perspective. Yes, this idea that we look at a kid's age, abilities, and development, to help inform how we use privileges and responsibilities and discipline, you know. And we also looked at some strategies for different ages and why it makes sense for that age. So we already tiptoed, you know, each episode, I hope you've gotten a few strategies and ideas based on what we were looking at. But, you know, the whole season was coming together for the big question is not just what do we do? Like, what? Not just what strategies do we use? But like, what do I do when? Because those are the questions we have as parents, right? Like, yes, this tricky thing is happening. What do I do now? Yes. And so that's where we're headed. We told you, we promised that we were coming towards more strategies. We hope you've picked up a few along the way. But so we're going to look, we're going to go back to this idea of proactive and reactive strategies, again, proactive being thinking about future behavior, reactive being about behavior that's already happened, how we respond after. We're going to talk about a list and we want it to be a little bit annoyingly exhaustive. I want people to hear that there's all kinds of choices. We don't use one strategy, we use lots. But Barb also gave us the language of like, these are options. Yes, your choices. These are things you can tap into, they're ideas. This is not fully exhaustive, but we wanted to put together some strategy. So yeah, Lori, now I'm ready. Kick us off.

Lori Korthals:

Okay, proactive strategies. Okay. Let the list begin. Right. Yes. Okay. So thinking about trying to get ahead of the misbehavior. Alright. So one way that we can do this, proactive strategy number one, acknowledging and praising when our child has a desired behavior. So it's that, you know, catch them being good, right? Yeah, proactive strategy before the behavior happens, catch them doing something that you really want them to do. The second strategy is talking about the expected behavior before we go in to a new place or situation, right? So we're prepping them, we're giving that lead time, we're telling them what we expect of them before we send them in. And then the third one is simply spending quality time with your child. Because essentially, what you're doing while you're spending quality time with them is you're modeling behaviors that you desire, correct. Alright, so I'm going to give a situation, an example, and show when you might use one of these proactive strategies. So I'm going to choose the second strategy talking about the expected behavior before you go into the new places situation. So I'm thinking specifically about my child about the age of six. All right, so a lot of school agers are going into the doctor. Now here's the deal at age six, they maybe haven't been to the doctor in a while unless they've been ill. Right? So infants and toddlers, they go in a lot to take care of their well child checks. So the school ager, it's been a while and at this school age well child check, you know that they're going to feel apprehensive. They don't like going and there might be misbehaviors. There could be crying, tantrums, running. Right. So proactive strategy. Talk about the expected behaviors before we go. What is it that I want my child to do? Do I want them to walk in with me holding my hand because I know that they're going to feel uncomfortable? Do I expect them to use a quiet voice? Do I expect them to sit in the chair and not lay on the floor kicking and screaming? And so talking with them ahead of time about what it is I expect.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay, I gotta share. Yeah, just last week both of my kids went to the doctor. Oh, goodness. Oh, just for the stuff that's always going around with kids. Yes. It occurred to Just a proactive way to go. Gold star excellent. me, I was trying to tell them and prepare them ahead of time what the doctor was gonna want to look at. And I couldn't not share this because I thought it was so smart. And I want to tell everybody, we sang the head, shoulders, knees and toes song. And I said the things the doctor is probably going to look at, that little verse of like, yeah, eyes and ears and mouth and nose. And so we sang that in the car. We talked about how it was gonna be. I mean, one of my kids still lost their mind a little bit when they needed to get the swab and the uncomfortable, right, but it was a little proactive. Oh I just did this. This is a tool other parents could share with their kids so they can remember. Yes. Oh, sorry. I love it. Perfect. Okay, a few more proactive strategies, the idea of having consistent routines and rules and structure, right, so that our kids know what to expect and when to expect it. There's some regularity of things, right, that consistency we've talked before about how that's important. And that routines and structure are a way to provide that consistency. Yes. So that's a proactive strategy. They know what time they need to get out of bed. They know when I come home, we'll do this next. I know you'll feed me supper, right? Um, and then modeling our desired behaviors. That's a proactive strategy. When I am showing you, this is how you do something. This is how you ask for a turn. This is how you tell someone I don't like that. So modeling those behaviors. Another one is active listening. So when your child brings a concern to you, and I've seen this phrase go around of like, when you're there for your kids with their big moments when they're little. That's how they know they can come to you with their big stuff when they're big. But being an active listener, even if it's, I was mad that so and so did this, all the way up to, I'm really uncomfortable with the situation that happened. Being an active listener builds that relationship, that's important productive strategy. And then one of my favorites, I'm always leaning into is, what's your plan? Right? I love that strategy of like, okay, I could see how what we're talking about could lead to a future problem. Yes. What's your plan? What's the plan? So as we were walking through these, we said, okay, each time we'll try to share a time when we maybe might use one of these strategies. So actually, the example that came to mind was like not getting ready. Oh, yes, the age. I feel like that is universal for kids like five plus. You need to be ready when we need to get somewhere, right. Okay, maybe it's not universal. It's my problem. But trying to get somewhere on time. So right, the routines, that idea can be really beneficial. They know what time they need to be somewhere. There is structure around it. Even if it's just telling a teen, you need to be downstairs with shoes and backpack on by this time, that might be the routine. It might be, we all eat breakfast together. That is not the case in my house. FYI, we don't always eat breakfast together, um, but also modeling that behavior. Am I ready when I say I'm gonna be ready? I'll tell you, I'll pick you up at this time. Am I there at that time? Yeah, so modeling those behaviors, and then again, it can be the, what's your plan? Like, alright, you don't want to wake up at 6:30 am? What's gonna be your plan for getting to school? Because that's the only option if you're coming with me. And so just using those proactive strategies, I think, as we think you know, even like in the title of the episode of when they misbehave, right, after it happens, and we still use proactive strategies, so we're gonna move into those reactive strategies. But we can still use proactive strategies, because we're looking at the future behavior. So yes, you didn't wake up on time today, or yes, you weren't ready when you said you would be, or you were throwing a fit when we tried to go somewhere new, whatever it is, and we can use proactive strategies to address that for the future. We can, next time we do this or the plan moving forward will be, so the proactive strategies are still a response. We're just looking further ahead.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. Okay. So reactive strategies, then the strategies that we can use after misbehavior happens, right? Again, we don't use just one, we might have several, we might have backup plans A-P, right? So a couple of them. I'll talk about a couple. I'll give you an example. And we'll do the same way. So the first one I have is timeout, coupled with time in. So it's effective, especially when you have that time in afterwards to really talk about, you know, what was the misbehavior? What was it that we saw? A second one is along with that explaining desired behavior. What is it you want them to do? We've talked about that in several of the episodes, what do you want them to do? And then a third one might be logical and natural consequences. Okay, so you know, what happens when this misbehavior occurs? Okay. So my example is going to be along with chores, okay. Again, kind of that school age but preschoolers can have chores. Yes. Teens everyone, okay. Adult chores, right. So what happens when the unexpected occurrence happens? This never happens. Right? Chores don't get done, okay? Never. Never. So what happens when chores don't get done? Logical consequences. Okay, chores, don't get done well, then you don't get to go to your friend's house. Logical consequence. Chores don't get done. You don't get the car tonight. Logical consequence when chores don't get done. Well, then we don't have time to go to the movie because now we have to do the chores. Yeah, logical consequences. Okay? Natural consequences. Chores don't get done. You can't find your favorite pair of shoes because you didn't pick up your clothes or put away your clothes. Put away your toys, right? Natural consequences. Your favorite toy got stepped on and broken because you didn't put it away. Mm hmm, natural consequences. Chores didn't get done which means we don't have the right pots and pans to make dinner because they're dirty from last night's dinner. Right? So logical and natural consequences is a reactive strategy to children or adults' misbehavior.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And one of our favorites that's got that's got to be in my like, top tippy top. Yeah, those natural and logical consequences. Yes. And lots of the other things we list out are logical and natural consequences. Absolutely. under that category. Okay, a few more. One is grounding. But making sure that if we're using a strategy for grounding, that it is logical, that it's related to the misbehavior, related to the event that happened. So being intentional with grounding, that it's not just the default.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. Especially. Why? Oh, I don't know. But you're grounded. Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And maybe they know what the behavior was for why they're grounded, but they're gonna be like, why am I grounded for that for this? Right, right. So being intentional with grounding in a way that makes sense. Another similar one is taking away privileges, you know, that usually I would let you do this yourself, or usually, you have freedom with this, we might need to take that away if a child is not demonstrating that behavior. And then another one, which we might not always think of, but this falls into that empathetic category, is just giving our kids acknowledgement and empathy that like, I can see why you chose to do that. So an example that I think of is, you know, kind of like school aged teen, maybe you hear your child was not behaving in a way you like, maybe it was at the basketball game, and maybe it was with their friends, the playground, maybe, right, somewhere, you weren't at practice? And you find out, you got the call, and you got the call. Right. And so I think how we respond to that. And I mean, yeah, maybe it was, you know, I heard at the basketball game that you were doing this. I think that means that maybe you're not ready to go without an adult. Maybe next time if you'd like to go to the game, it's going to have to be with one of us to make sure that you can follow those rules. Or, you know, it can even be I could see why you did that. I know, a bunch of your friends were all doing it and you got caught up in that. And you know, I could see how that happened and that's not okay. Right, you can empathize and acknowledge it, so it also could be, I don't think you can go this weekend to that event because this time you weren't making good choices there and I need to keep you safe. And so but that it's paired with the reasoning, I think is really the important part of the strategies, that it's logical to misbehavior. If you're going to use grounding or taking away privileges, it's logical and it is to prevent future misbehavior, that it's not just you were, quote unquote, bad. So I will punish you, right? It's logical, and it's about shaping behavior rather than just I didn't like that you did that. So pairing those with reasoning, and we get those calls.

Lori Korthals:

Okay, so a couple more are, of course, our flagship strategy of Stop. Breathe. Talk., right? Stop. Take a moment. Take a deep breath, or three, and then finding the purpose and being intentional about what you want your child's behavior to be. Stop. Breathe. Talk. Another one would be distraction or redirecting. We talked about that a lot with infants and toddlers, but you can use distraction and redirection at any age, right? It can give you a moment. It can give you a moment, right? This can be paired with something to distract redirect while I take a moment to Stop. Breathe. Talk.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I even think of the preteen or teen meltdown. Yes. Okay. Something is happening here. Alright, let's put this on pause.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, all ages. And then another one is one of my favorites. The idea that well you can choose or I'll choose. And if I choose, I'm gonna choose this. So an example in particular, along with, of course, my favorite Treelo example, which you can listen to in several other episodes, right? But is this idea of safety, right? Sometimes we have children who do not want to get in their car seat. They do not want to do something, and what it is that they want to do is not safe. And so how do we take that moment of okay, wait a second, this is not safe for them. An example when my children were young, probably preschool and older toddler, we were at a small town parade. And if you know about parades, you know that there are many vehicles driving through the roads of the parade, albeit very slowly. But still, they're not watching for young children who may be dashing out into the street to gather the candy that's being thrown from the vehicles, right. So that is not safe for a late toddler, or preschooler, you know. Granted, they're watching the older children and adults race out into the street for candy. But so for my for my situation at this point in time, that was a place where I definitely use with my children, okay, you can choose to pick up the candy right here by us right near the curb, away from the vehicles, or I get to choose for you. So you can choose to stay right beside me and pick up the candy that comes to you not running out in the street, right here beside me or I choose. And what I'm going to choose is that we will go back and sit in the car until the parade is over. Yeah, so that same situation can be utilized with a car seat. You can choose to climb into the car seat, or I will choose. And if I choose not only will I put you in the car seat but I will also need to you know, remove the toy that you're going to play with. So using those, pairing them, having a backup plan, especially in those unsafe situations.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think the other beauty that I have found since using this technique when we talked about it in our temperament season. I mean, and before that, but especially in the temperament season of the okay, these are the two choices, you can climb into your car seat, or I will help you. And if you don't choose, I'll choose. Sometimes my kids say, will you just choose, will you just choose. Yeah, right. Sometimes my kids are like, yes, just choose. Um, and I think that's also another thing that's powerful about the strategy is like I can't, I'm overwhelmed. But we get it. Right, like, oh, I feel you. That's another thing I love about the strategy that I found in using it. It's like, oh, yeah, sure, I'll choose, I'll help you. Right. All right. And then a few more, like I said, I wanted this list to be almost annoyingly long. So a few more. One is I Messages which we've talked about just recently even, but things that explain the impact of a child's behavior, and that I Messages are an effective way to communicate about that. Another one is finding a common goal between you and your child. So even after a misbehavior, as you think about what you do want to happen, finding the goal that you and your child share around it, even if the means to get it isn't necessarily what you're agreeing on. Yes. And then finally, the shared problem solving opportunities for your kids to be like, okay, you can say, alright, this is not going to keep happening. How are we gonna come to a solution to change it to something else. And so the one that I think about in terms of alright, my child did this, and now I need to do something. Homework. I think homework is a big one around this, right? Yes. Maybe you find out it is most of the way through this semester, and you found out your child hasn't turned in any homework, or has turned in all of it late, right? Or you find out they've been lying about having it, and then they don't do it at home. Yeah, there's all kinds of situations around homework that I think particularly these strategies can come in mind. You know, I think even finding the common goal can be as simple as, you want to go to college, and we're going to need grades or you want to go to trade school or you want to go into the military. But whatever that goal is that we have, I want good things for you. And this is the thing you want. We actually align here, we do find a way to get there together. And I think looking at that shared problem solving, like this is us against the problem. Okay, the problem is you have to do homework, you can't fail all these classes. Yes. It's an expectation in our family that you graduate from high school. What do we need to do together to get there? What's your plan? Yes, right. But I do think also the I Messages, we don't always think about this with situations like homework. We might think of them around backtalk like I expect this. Yes. But again, the I Message can be as simple as, I expect you to turn in your homework. I expect you to apply yourself at school because I know you're capable of this. And those I Messages around what you expect or what you feel or what you like. I'm concerned that you won't get to play volleyball because your grades won't be good enough to be on the team. I'm concerned about that, right? And so those opportunities for I Messages are there in all kinds of situations. But we wanted to think through this list. And what are some of the things that as parents, we're often responding to unsafe behavior, not meeting expectations, right? Not following social convention, even when you need to dress appropriately, or you need to speak appropriately, or this is a place where you need to be quiet. But there's all different kinds of what we might define, again, we can define it differently than other parents, but what we might define as misbehavior. And so we've got lots of strategies, both proactive and reactive, that you can choose but remember, all those things are going to influence it. The unspoken aspects, like your traits, your child's traits, the emotions that are part of it, and the broader relationship is going to affect how your child responds to your discipline attempts. And then, of course, their age is a factor. So we hope that you have lots of strategies in your toolbox. And you know what, maybe you don't need 10 of these. Yeah, I don't need them right now but maybe you do in a few months and in a few years. And so we hope that you've heard some things that help you understand how you make this decision, what influences those factors? Because we do decide on discipline and how we can guide our kids behaviors.

Lori Korthals:

All day, every day.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Maybe when they're behaving the right way, right? Even when they're behaving in a way we like, yes, we can praise it, we can acknowledge it. There's all day every day.

Lori Korthals:

All day, every day.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, big decisions.

Lori Korthals:

Alright, so I guess that brings us to our Stop. Breathe. Talk. time in our episode. And this is where we bring in someone to share some additional thoughts with us. And this week, we are bringing in our writer, Barb Dunn Swanson, and she's gonna share some thoughts with us. Hi, Barb.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Hey, girl.

Mackenzie Johnson:

What are you thinking?

Barb Dunn Swanson:

I'm always thankful when you worry about what I'm thinking. Today, I'm really reflective as this has been a real reflection on the whole season of guiding children and guiding teens and guiding our school agers. But it really goes back to the parents. It's our responsibility to provide the discipline and the guidance that these people in our lives need. And every family's journey will be so different. That's what was so exciting about the toolbox of different approaches. That toolbox with all of the different approaches is so necessary, because what works for my family just might not work for yours, Mackenzie, or Lori. What works for your teens may not work for the neighborhood kids. Yeah, so having the toolbox is essential. But parents are the first educators of their children. And they're tasked with providing the boundaries, and the guidance, and applying those consequences when necessary. But what's exciting is that it isn't just a one stop shop. We've got all kinds of strategies. Now the other thing I think about is how those values play in to the whole discussion. Yes, for families, they're deciding what they're going to do based on their family values. So if their family values are honesty, they're going to expect some the lines of communication to be open. And when does that undesired behavior happen? There might be some long talks about what went wrong, and how are we going to fix it? How are we going to repair? And, you know, all of the things you've already talked about that might be just a values discussion? Yes. You know, it's honesty. It's telling the truth. It might be a value of kindness, and caring for our siblings. It might be the value of respect. Lori, I've heard you talk about how important is respect. That's one of your key foundational values. I've heard you mention it on many occasions, and it's such an endearing one because we all need to know we're respected and even the kids need to be respected.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, absolutely.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

The values are so important. And then the other thing I really think about is, how important it is for our kids to know that all of this is grounded in the love we have for them, for their health and well being. Yes, right. Yes, it's all about health and well being, as a society. We want kids who grow up and can be successful and can contribute back to our society, right? That takes discipline, it takes inner discipline to be able to do that. And where does it start? It starts early. It starts with the family. And so families, I'm hoping you'll check out all of the resources of The Science of Parenting. We have a blog. We have these podcasts that you're enjoying. We have print publications that might be helpful. We have workshops that you can attend virtually, or perhaps in a community near you. But the point is, we want to make sure that you have the resources you need, when you need them. And we're just a phone call or an email away. Please don't ever hesitate to reach out to us.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Awesome. Thanks so much, Barb.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

I always enjoy jumping on with you. And just kind of summarizing a little bit of the goodness that you spoke about. This season has been really, really full of good information. And it might be one of the seasons that we have to take a listen to a couple of times.

Mackenzie Johnson:

There's a lot here. You know, there's a lot here.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Thank you very much.

Lori Korthals:

Thank you. You too.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So that kind of brings us to a wrap on this season, the great guidance and discipline debate. We hope we've answered questions that you have around discipline, things that you do feel like are up for debate in your house and your family, things you've been unsure about. And hopefully we've brought a different perspective to discipline than just maybe what we always think of in terms of, should I do this or should I do that. That there's more things here, there's these unspoken influences, that our emotions are going to play a role. And even the frameworks in the categories of cooperative versus empathetic versus forceful versus proactive and reactive, right? There's a lot of different ways of looking at it. We hope that's something that you've picked up this season. One thing I'm not sure that we've said that, as Barb was sharing, kind of popped into my brain, was that a part of the challenge with discipline is that we do believe that all kids have some basic rights. Right? You know, we talked about it in the episode, we're talking about history, yes, the United Nations put together that list of child rights, and that we need to honor those in our discipline, right. Children deserve to be safe, to be fed, to be sheltered and things like that. And so even though we have a pluralistic approach to parenting, we do believe there are basic rights that children should have. And so that's a part of what informs our discipline and guidance, kids this age, all this stuff all comes together. But Barb tied that bow on perfectly of love and that positive relationship is really the goal, that we're raising kids into adults, and that we have this relationship with them for our lifetimes. We do, we do. So we hope that we can shape their behavior into the kinds of adults that are super cool.

Lori Korthals:

Super cool humans.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, that we're shaping that behavior. Right. We're not choosing it. Yeah, we're shaping it. Yeah, with our values.

Lori Korthals:

So that's a wrap on season eight, and we'll take a short break before we hop on to our next season, but we wanted to thank you for joining us today on The Science of Parenting podcast. And remember, you can join us on Facebook and Twitter, and on Twitter, it's at scienceofparents. And you can see our content in your feed if you subscribe. And then you can stay also caught up with us in between seasons, reading the blog and going back to seasons that you may have missed or wanted to hear again. So come back, come back again.

Mackenzie Johnson:

We will see you this summer and in the meantime, please do come along with us as we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and outs, and the research and reality all around The Science of Parenting.

Anthony Santiago:

The Science of Parenting is hosted by Lori Korthals and Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson. Send in questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext