A lot of people will frown on my version of parenting. The version where the mantra “Discipline equals freedom” can be heard being chanted through the hallways. Along with questions of “Do you believe you earned it?” and “What do you think?”
Questions I direct at my child, instead of imposing my views on them.
It all started with a children’s book called ‘Way of the Warrior Kid by Jocko William, an ex-marine telling the story of how to be the best version of yourself. The concept of getting the tough stuff done to earn the rewards you define for yourself.
We have switched from telling my eldest what he should be doing, to asking him to plan what needs to be done.
When a request comes to have more television time or play Minecraft with his friends, I never say “no”, instead I ask “Have you earned it?”
To which the response is normally an immediate turn on his heals to complete his planned football practice or knock out a song on the keyboard.
We are not at this development point with my younger son Rhys yet, the challenges of autism and interaction make this a bit more difficult. But it is still something we have started to implement, and more importantly need to, in order to ensure structure, communication and predictability within his life.
At the moment my eldest is providing the best training ground for us as parents to practice the method. We are implementing it slowly for Rhys, where a reward of an episode of the Gruffalo requires Rhys to engage with a puzzle game, or a request for an ice-lolly requires him to do a bit of writing.
Discipline equals freedom, or more realistically reward!
Now there will be those haters out there. The ones who believe kids should be kids and not be ‘bribed’ to get what they should rightfully just be handed. But I believe that our role as parents is to guide our children and show them how to live their lives to the fullest, and achieve every dream they envisage.
My son’s autism means that structure is more important than ever. Teaching how to get things done, plan your day and get the tough stuff out of the way first, are life skills we should all be teaching and supporting our children with from a young age.
By learning from a young age that (self) discipline equals freedom, and they will be able to achieve the impossible.
And if it doesn’t work, just have a glass of gin!
How do you parent your kids? What is your method?