Category Archives: parenting

Discipline Without Exasperation

Are you often exasperated when it comes to disciplining your child?

Or have you noticed your child seems exasperated?

Either way, discipline should have a purpose. And not to exasperate anyone! In fact, exasperation hinders positive outcomes.

Let’s back up a bit and see what it means to be exasperated.

Definition: Exasperate:
“to make someone very annoyed, usually when they can do nothing to solve a problem” [from Cambridge Dictionary, dictionary.cambridge.org]

There’s been a lot of debate on how to discipline and how not to, as well as a lot of comment on what the Bible teaches. I know there are tons of strategies and such. And I’m not going to debate or strategize here.

Underneath it all, the purpose of discipline should be to arrive at a positive outcome. And whatever strategy or method used, keep in mind that positive outcomes are hindered by exasperation on either part.

The purpose of discipline should be to arrive at a positive outcome.

In Ephesians we are taught:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Personally, I get three points from the verses above:

(1) Obeying their parents is good for kids; when (2) parents’ instructions align with God’s Word; and (3) parents avoid causing them exasperation.

So what about the exasperation of the parents?! What I know is that when I’m exasperated, it’s harder to avoid exasperating my kids in the moment.

I’ve learned a few tips that help me avoid becoming exasperated and passing that on to my kids.

Tip #1

Assess for Repetition.

Take some time to think through what’s typically going on when you feel exasperated (or both you and your kids are exasperated). Notice any recurring themes or patterns?

Tip #2

Assess for Limitations.

One sure-fire way to exasperate your children is to make demands and expectations that they do something they are incapable of. Becoming aware of their limitations helps parents and other adults have more realistic expectations, too!

It’s easy to assume children and youth are capable of adult reasoning and understanding, as well as other skills that they may have not yet developed, especially if lagging skills and abilities aren’t obvious.

I like using the form from Dr. Ross Greene – the ALSUP, or Assessment of Lagging Skills & Unsolved Problems. Even if you don’t totally go by his method this is a great resource! (Check out Dr. Greene’s Collaborative Problem Solving method, the ALSUP form as well as a usage guide at https://www.livesinthebalance.org/

Tip #3

Assess for a positive purpose.

Taking time to assess my purpose can help me avoid become reactionary, impatient, selfish, etc. When I am clear on my disciplinary purpose and that it is in keeping with a positive outcome for my child, then I am less likely to exasperate them or become exasperated, myself.

I hope these tips are valuable to you and help you avoid exasperation in your family. If you have other tips that have been useful to you, please share in the comments.

Thanks for visiting with me here at Yesterday’s Orphan.

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Hey there,

I’m Dawn and I enjoy helping parents and advocating for orphans!

I founded Yesterday’s Orphan, an outreach to support parents and caregivers, especially moms, of adopted and foster children and also step-children.

If you liked this post and it is helpful to you you might like to join the small but growing Yesterday’s Orphan Facebook group for parents and caregivers. The group is free to join but closed — members only.

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