The First Principle of Natural Discipline is: Use Connection, Not Separation, to Bring a Child into Line
“Connection is the source of our parenting power and influence and of the child’s desire to be good for us. Connection should be both our short-term objective and our long-term goal.” We need connection before we can give direction that will be followed. Imagine that your spouse has come home from work and the first words you say are “Take out the garbage.” Now imagine that your spouse has come home from work and you give him or her a kiss on the cheek, ask how their day was, and then say, “Would you mind taking out the garbage for me?” We all know which of those options is going work best and the same is true with our children. We need to “collect” people before we can expect to “direct” them.
Some ways to connect with children are to spend time with them doing things that they enjoy. These do not need to be expensive. They can be as simple as going for a walk, playing a game, throwing a ball, making a meal, or eating supper together to name a few.
Remember—the goal of this time is to build connection. It is not the time to talk about all of the things that aren’t working for you or that you’re worried about. The goal is to build connection and create good memories together.