Home » Articles & Blog » Nurtured discipline: an oxymoron?

by Janice Symons-Bradbury  

I recently read a book about disciplining children from a nurturing perspective and it has been an eye-opening experience for me. What stood out for me the most was the fact that children reacting in an aggressive manner are in fact not being naughty, rather they are crying for an unmet need to be fulfilled.  The approach follows very much along the lines of understanding the child’s brain functioning and its connections to the sensory system. I now understand why it seems as though my voice goes in one ear and out the other when talking to my children when they are in a stressed state.

The fact that there is research being done on how we can discipline children in a gentler manner gives me hope. Hope and relief that finally us as humans are beginning to understand the new generation of children we are raising, and acknowledging the fact that these wonderful little souls need to be treated differently. As we evolve as human beings we need to be open to changing what doesn’t work and try new ways of doing things. I am in favour of this approach as it allows for better bonding to occur between caregiver and the child. Our children may have been exposed to all kinds of traumatic experiences in their lives, big or small, which we may have forgotten about and their behaviour may well be in reaction to a perceived trauma about to occur again.

I have tried to use a more gentle approach with my own children and clients and I have seemed to get a wonderful response from children who are usually so misunderstood in society. Children who seem to be labelled as being oppositional defiant, add/adhd, autism spectrum, and depressed have appeared to respond well to being treated by a nurtured perspective. It allows for a more sensitive stance towards our “tantrums” and encourages children to start taking responsibility for their actions BUT this is done when they are calm and physically able to take in the lesson that needs to be taught with regards to their behaviour and how they can behave differently in the future, along with a consequence for the said behaviour. Have a try and see how it works, by being less reactive as an adult and more understanding we may be in a better position to model appropriate behaviour to our children and at the same time allow them to be the beings they want to be in a safe and contained environment. Happy nurturing!



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