Dog Training and Child Discipline, the Premise is the same
Today, I had an opportunity to watch an episode of Caesar Millan’s the Dog Whisperer. This episode was about a woman who had 4 yappy misbehaved dogs that had the run of the household. The worst part, for me anyway, was the constant barking. After Caesar gave the couple some pointers, the dog owner said in an “aha” moment, “Lack of discipline doesn’t help them, it may help me, but it doesn’t provide them, with the structure they need.
The same thing goes for children. It may be easier for parents to sit back and let their children do whatever they want, but it is much better for the children to have the structure that they crave. Without structure, children feel as though they are constantly walking through an earthquake. Children need structure the same as adults do. If adults didn’t crave structure, we wouldn’t live by our Smart Phones and calendars. Parents keep the ground flat and even for kids by providing them with structure in the form of limits and rules.
Children feel loved and cared about by their parents when parents take the time to set up structure for them. Without rules and limits, children feel unstable. Children who feel unstable in their relationship with their parents will keep pushing their parents with requests, tantrums, power struggles and with annoying behavior until their parents set the rules and limits that they crave. (The kids have no idea that this is what they are craving.)
Even though kids don’t come with instruction books, it is important for all parents to know basic child development so that they can set age appropriate rules and limits for their children. Parents also need to know that once they set limits and rules they MUST follow through with them. This is important because this is also part of the structure and security that kids need. If limits and rules are set, but there is no follow-through, there is still no structure in the home that makes children feel loved and cared for and the kids will continue to tantrum, push, have power struggles and misbehave.
Children learn to trust their parents when they mean what they say and say what they mean. Again without trust, there is no stability in a child’s world. Imagine telling a small child that you will pick him up from Grandma’s house when it gets dark. If you pick him up when it gets dark, he learns that he can trust you. If you don’t pick him up when it gets dark, he worries that something happened to you, or that you are never going to pick him up and that he is going to have to stay at Grandma’s forever. Then the next time you take him somewhere and want to leave him, he will yell and scream and hang on to you, because he doesn’t believe that you will pick him up. If you say something to a child, you must do everything in your power to do what you said you would do. You will earn your child’s respect when you do what you say you will do consistently and also treat your child with respect. Your relationship with your child sets the stage for all future relationships for him/her.
It is true for dogs and for children; you may make things easier for yourself in the short run, by giving the children or animals the run of the house. But what dogs and children really need is structure that only you the parent can provide. Also, you provide the first relationship for your child, and possibly for your dog. This first relationship will shape all other relationships in your dog and/or child’s life. It is a big responsibility. Read, observe and/or ask for help before undertaking such a responsibility and if you run into trouble. There are a lot of resources available to support you in this lifelong endeavor. For more information on how to add structure in your child’s life, contact us or call 818 995-9757 to set up a free consultation.