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Let’s Deal with Anxiety Blog: Anxiety of Disciplining Children


What we want most as parents is simple, we want the best for our children. Because of this desire, we can’t help the urge to make sure our children have everything they want and need. However, as parents, we also realize that providing discipline for our children helps them become well-rounded adults. Unfortunately, many parents feel shame and anxiety when they think about or attempt to discipline their children.

The mental mistake we make:

The mental mistake we make when providing discipline for our children is that we are unaware of how perceived social stigma impacts our parenting. Perceived social stigma happens when we believe that others may negatively view our behaviors without proof that others are actually critical of our actions. When it comes to discipline, we often experience anxiety or shame due to our perceptions/assumptions that others may think we are being too hard on our children.

Believing in our perceptions of what others may think if we discipline our children tricks us into thinking that society thinks collectively and has the same opinions. The truth is, outside of physical and emotional abuse, society accepts various methods of discipline. Often, cultural norms dictate how discipline is implemented. In other words, there is no collective society view of what is right and what is wrong when it comes to discipline.

The mistake we make with our behaviors:

The apparent mistake we make with our behaviors is that when anxious about the perceptions of others, we avoid providing discipline for our children when it is appropriate that they receive discipline. The thought of carrying through with discipline makes us worry about how others will view us, including how our children may view us after receiving discipline. Many of us come up with a solution to avoid providing discipline due to the anxiety of being perceived negatively. Unfortunately, when we avoid providing appropriate discipline, we reinforce the perceived narrative that others would have judged us negatively. Because we did not provide discipline, we are convinced that we also avoided the negative judgment of others. When perceived social stigma consistently interferes with implementing discipline, we may start to become paralyzed with anxiety anytime we are faced with administering well-needed discipline for our children.

Let’s Deal with Anxiety Blog: Dealing with the anxiety of disciplining children in 6 steps:

  1. If you are experiencing high anxiety at the thought of providing discipline, simply ask yourself if anxiety should be controlling your parenting decisions.

  2. Make a commitment to do the right thing for your child, rather than doing the comfortable thing.

  3. Focus on accepting your anxiety about providing discipline rather than fighting it and align yourself with what is in your child's best interest as a future adult.

  4. Realize when you are parenting from a position of anxiety and slowly start the process of not doing what your anxiety wants you to do as it relates to discipline.

  5. Understand that perceived social stigma represents your assumed beliefs about others; next, conclude if you want your parenting style to be based on the assumptions you think others may have about you when providing discipline.

  6. Finally, perceived social stigma is created by what we think others may think. It is doubtful that we are accurate at predicting how others think about our behaviors as it relates to our providing discipline for our children.

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