Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shaping is More Important than Controlling

From Parenting the Fussy Baby and High-Need Child by William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN
pp. 181-2
Shaping is More Important than Controlling
Parents often confuse being in charge with being in control, and they feel that good disciplinarians must always be in control. Clinging to the control model of parenting will drive you crazy and set you up for constant power struggles, most of which you are unlikely to win. Think of your job as shaping your child's behaviour rather than controlling it. Unlike controlling, "shaping" means that you take your child's temperament and need level into consideration in your decision making and your style of discipline. Making this mind-set change from controlling to shaping does not mean you are weakening your authority; you are simply making your authority work for you. A wise disciplinarian is like a gardener, and the child is the garden. You can't control the color of the flowers when they bloom or how they smell, but you can prune the plants, pick the weeds, fertilize the soil so the flowers will bloom more beautifully. In disciplining a high-need child, you will find that you need to work in the garden daily lest the work get away from you.


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