We’re embarking on a new series of blog posts — and this time, we’re taking a detailed look at the foundation for creating a healthy and healing relationship with your child based on compassionate care, appropriate structure and mutual respect. 

We call these disciplines “the 10 Cs” because each starts with the letter C. Discipline, by the way, comes from the root word, “disciple,” which means “follower of a leader or teacher.” Effective discipline depends on building the right relationship with your child, not merely about using a particular technique. Discipline is not just about responding to “bad” behavior, but, instead what you can do to encourage your child’s total development — mind, body, emotions, relationships and values.

If you want to have a positive impact on your child, you must abandon the notion that you can demand obedience through the use of physical or psychological coercion or force. Withdrawing from your child by holding back love, attention and connection is nonconstructive. Your child already has experienced enough rejection, criticism and abandonment — whether that’s because of profound trauma; or because of schoolyard bullying; or because of other social struggles at home, school or around the neighborhood.

The truth is that you cannot control children’s behavior. Only they can control their behavior. You might temporarily impose your will on a younger child through constant surveillance and domination. However, your child merely is learning to comply with external pressure rather than to develop a healthy, inner voice and moral compass. Using excessive force and control with older children encourages them to fight back.

What are the key ingredients of therapeutic parenting that is healthy and healing? You can have a positive influence on your children if you use the following guidelines — the 10 Cs:

  1. Connection
  2. Calm
  3. Commitment
  4. Consistency
  5. Communication
  6. Choices and Consequences
  7. Confidence
  8. Cooperation
  9. Creativity
  10. Coaching

We will explore each of the 10 Cs in more detail in coming weeks.