Many people believe that connected parenting spoils a child, and that they end up being poorly behaved or unable to tolerate having limits set by parents and teachers.
I especially hear this from the older generation, who are watching some of the younger generation parents try to learn connected parenting. They see the kids “running loose” or seemingly out of control, and sometimes say things like, “You know, if you just cracked down on your kids a little more, or used some consequences, you could get their behavior sorted out in no time.”
And while there’s some truth to the fact that behaviour often changes more quickly with consequences, there’s also a huge cost. It breaks down your relationship with your sensitive, spirited child.
The truth is that to successfully use connected parenting, you have to change your expectation for how quickly behaviour will change. It’s probably going to happen over a longer period than if you were to punish your child. Punishments and consequences often get instant behaviour change because your kids are afraid.
The combination of the repetition over a longer period and remaining consistent with your child about what kinds of behavior are appropriate will eventually shift your child’s behavior.
The other factor that helps shift your child’s behavior is to do your best to connect before teaching them, and to teach them when you’re calm and regulated yourself– at least most of the time. Nobody can do it all the time, so it’s important to be gentle with yourself.
When you are calm and consistent, you’re putting in place the structure that gives them their limits, boundaries, and expectations for what to do and what not to do. They will learn to adhere to limits and behave appropriately, but also, sometimes your expectations and support will change as you see what they need.
But most importantly, when they learn in this way, their behavior change comes from a place inside their heart, rather than because they’re fearful of you, or scared of a punishment or a consequence. This is the real gift of connected parenting. Their change is authentic and they’ll behave appropriately regardless of whether anyone is watching. They’ve stayed connected to their heart.
This heart connection helps our kids become empathetic humans and behave with kindness and consideration because once they get to around 7 years old, they’re able to understand another person’s perspective. You don’t have to tell them what they should do as often as when they were younger because they can imagine how you, or how their peer or their sibling might be feeling, and they can shift their behavior accordingly.
It comes from an authentic place because they’re still open-hearted, instead of being afraid of punishment and having put up protective walls around their heart to guard against emotional hurt. So the gift is that in the long run, they stay connected to their heart, which supports authenticity and supports becoming a more empathetic and kind human being as they grow up.
Connected parenting doesn’t spoil your child. Rather, it keeps them connected to their heart, so that as they get older, their behaviour stems from a genuine heartfelt caring about themselves and others.
Image Credit: Unsplash, John-Mark Smith
PS: If you like getting your parenting tips on video, you may want to check out my YT channel. I’m doing a lot more video these days 😉❤️