Since retiring from her private practice, leading New Jersey-based child psychologist, clinician, and author Dr. Beth Grosshans continues to educate parents, educators, and researchers on her innovative principle of Imbalanced Family Power (IFP). Methodically described in her 2010 book Beyond Time Out: From Chaos to Calm, Dr. Beth Grosshans explains how IFP stems from inappropriate boundaries between parent and child.
The struggles that often plague families with imbalanced power dynamics usually involve the setting and following of boundaries. While the boundaries themselves may differ with the child’s age, the underlying issue is the same. Due to inconsistently or poorly defined boundaries, the child doesn’t view the parent as an authority. This can be an anxiety-inducing situation for children, who feel safer when reliable, firm boundaries are in place. Parents can follow a few guidelines to set and maintain appropriate boundaries with their children.
Don’t Seek Validation - Many parents are afraid to set boundaries out of fear of upsetting their child. Effective parents set limits to protect the child’s safety and well-being, not to gain their child’s approval.
Be Consistent - When setting a boundary, it is normal for a child to push back and argue to get their own way. Rather than negotiating, parents should present their children with the option of following the limit or dealing with the consequences.
Allow Discomfort - Children may feel frustrated or disappointed when their parents set limits, and this can make some parents loosen their boundaries out of guilt or worry. While setting limits can be a difficult process, it is necessary to help children regulate their own behaviors and make better choices in the long term.
Beth Grosshans, the writer of Beyond Time Out, practiced child psychology in New Jersey for more than 25 years before retiring. Based on her experience, Beth Grosshans guides parents on disciplining their children in an ordered, positive manner, without giving up their parental power.
Below are several mistakes most parents make when disciplining their children:
Not being consistent
Most parents make the mistake of being inconsistent when it comes to disciplining their kids. This usually occurs for one of two reasons: either parents are tired from all their responsibilities and become lax with discipline, or parents are not on the same page in regards to discipline. Regardless of the reason, consistency is key when it comes to discipline.
Scolding in public
Dangerous behaviors, such as running into a street, often illicit an immediate response from parents. However, scolding kids in public may result in them worrying more about who is overhearing the conversation than listening to what they did wrong. To avoid this, parents should either find a private area to discipline their kids or let them know the issue will be discussed at home.
Giving into bad behavior
When parents give into their child’s bad behavior, they may be making the problem go away in the short-term. However, doing so creates more long-term problems by teaching children that they can get what they want by throwing a tantrum. Rewarding misbehavior in children may result in with authority and peer relationship struggles later in life.
Experienced Psychologist Beth Grosshans Lectures on Child Development