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Old 04-26-2008, 08:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Discipline can "fix" a problem

I think you're articulating a very valid point, Mary.

I think of it in terms of idealism. I see so many people I know (myself included) striving after idealistic goals and focusing on having what amounts to a perfect life (either by our definition or someone else's).

We call it things that sound good.... "doing the right thing" or "being a good parent" or "meeting my child's needs" or "walking with God" or "being healthy"... (all worthy goals) but when we are rooted in an idealistic mindset, what we actually envision is a dynamic where problems either don't occur or are quickly and effectively resolved at every turn. You're correct that the appeal happens all across the spectrum. Folks seeking after ideals can be drawn to the most punitive style or the most permissive style or anything in between--whichever one strikes them as the perfect solution--and they will ALL experience disappointment with their chosen approach.

We have an ideal of what AP/gentle (or Biblical) parenting looks like, and feel the weight of frustration and failure when that picture doesn't match our reality.
We have an ideal of what Christian living looks like, and feel the weight of guilt and self-doubt when that picture doesn't match our reality.
We have an ideal of what our education (or medical, or eating, or... etc.) choices should look like, and we infer judgement from others and feel inadequacy in ourselves when circumstances drive us in a different direction.

the list could go on and on... our marriages, relationships with friends and family, physical appearance, etc.

When we buy into that endless pursuit of some illusive ideal for ourselves, our lives, and our children.... we wind up focusing all our attention on that, we spend much of our lives anxious, disppointed, guilt-ridden, stressed-out, and pushing ourselves and others toward a goal that's little more than a mirage.

All that said, one of the great things I learned from AP/GBD was how to really investigate and problem solve when my kids were having behavior issues. There is a balance to be had between addressing the root cause of behaviors and understanding that some things just won't have a tangible solution.
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