Everyone agrees that controlling children is not always desirable, but it is not that clear whether disciplining children is the best way to help them become independent. Research indicates that punishing children increases aggression and violence in children. You acquire more influence with children when you give up trying to use power to control them.
Rather than seeing an either-or choice between authoritarian controlling of children and permissiveness, adults should focus on building self-discipline through influence. Authority has multiple meanings
- Authority based on expertise (“Authority E”)
- Authority based on position or title (“Authority J” J=Job)
- Authority based on informal contracts (“Authority C”)
- Authority based on power (“Authority P”)
All other authority is based on mutual understanding but Authority P is involuntary. Children don’t respect Authority P, even if they have to obey it.
Is effective communication then not an appropriate avenue to pursue? It is recommended to engage in active listening by giving your full attention to what the child is saying, and to afterwards reflect back to show that you have understood.
It is essential that parents also understand the power relationships at play when they want to start controlling their children. Using unnecessary or excessive power causes you to lose influence, but the other side of the story states that giving up the use of power lets you gain influence. Try and strike a good balance between the two.
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