Punishments and rewards take away from your child’s internal compass (what is right/ wrong) and intrinsic motivation.
This doesn’t mean you let your child do whatever they like! You can still guide your child’s behaviour in a peaceful way WITHOUT the use of punishments and rewards. The more you practise and get comfortable with this skill while you’re calm, the more your brain is creating and strengthening new neural pathways. And the stronger those neural pathways become the more you’re going to be able to start drawing on this response in times of stress (ie when you normally lose your patience and start shouting/ threatening or giving punishments etc).
A wonderful tool you can use to guide your child’s behaviour without punishments or rewards, is the “High Quality No”. This is a term I’ve borrowed from Eckert Tolle.
The high quality no comes in to this practise when, for example, your child is screaming or throwing things because they want a cookie or the iPad.
Instead of threatening, punishing or offering a reward if they stop…
A High Quality No is free from attachment, and free from your own emotional baggage.
You can simply say ‘no’, as the loving authority in your child’s life.
AND welcome the emotions that are likely to come up after hearing your ‘no.’
I remember Marion Rose ( a wonderful mentor of mine and founder of PsychoSpiritual Parenting) describing it as saying No to the behaviour but Yes to the underlying feelings – I love that! And find it a really helpful point to remember. When you say No to a cookie or the iPad its likely that is going to cause your child to scream even louder. This is okay!
Its okay for your child to express their upset feelings about what’s happening. This is a positive thing! It means they won’t be storing this energy in the body and likely they’re also releasing some past emotions too, often making their reaction seem disproportionate to the event.
Young children are likely to present you with LOTS of opportunities to practise your high-quality no’s!
Do you have questions or would like to know more about this – I’d love to hear from you! And if you’d like my support in creating your own personalised plan of action for more balance, ease and flow at home with your children, you can book here or get in touch through my Facebook page and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible xo