Have you ever been disciplined by “the switch?”
In some cultures or families and about two generations ago, the mere mention of “the switch” would send chills of fear up a child’s back with the thought of being punished with a thwack of a stick on their bottom. Back then, to discipline meant to spank out the bad tendencies in hopes that the good behavior would eventually emerge.
As I have worked with moms and daughters, I continue to see that there are six areas that come up for moms. It is these six areas that a mom needs to consider when disciplining her daughter. I call these six considerations The S.W.I.T.C.H. Method™
The S.W.I.T.C.H.™ Method of Discipline
As a mom, you will need to consider your…
Pause either before or after the situation.
Ask yourself, “What am I standing on to warrant my response to the (discipline) situation?”
Your daughter is not clueless about your patterns and pronouncements. However, it is your principles that she unconsciously absorbs. If your actions (both patterns and pronouncements) don’t line up with those principles and then you try to discipline her, then she won’t take you seriously. Your stance will be weak in your daughter’s eyes and she’ll be less inclined to listen to you on that topic.
After you’ve figured out your stance in the situation, then you will need to identify what main point you are endeavoring to get across to your daughter.
Ask yourself, “What do I want my daughter to ultimately learn as a result of this situation?”
Even though you may have a lesson for your daughter to learn, the situation may involve or have resulted from additional unknown factors. So, you will need to investigate and gather other evidence about what’s really happening.
Ask questions like, “What made you do __X__…?” or “What happened?” [Not, “What were you thinking?” which she will likely hear as an accusatory or judgmental question.]
Everyone is born with a specific type of temperament. As a mom, you’ll need to ask yourself if the presenting situation has disturbed or “slowed your roll?” Additionally, if your temperament has been disturbed, then being aware of how you’re feeling about it will likely give a clue about whether you are feeling really hurt or are feeling angry.
Ask yourself: “Am I feeling angry or am I feeling hurt?”
This is important to know because it will help you with the next consideration.
Knowing if you’re really calm—or if you can get calm—will help you better manage your emotions. Managing your emotions well will help you:
- Respond vs. react
- Model emotions management for your daughter which, in turn, will
- Help your daughter in the long run interpersonally and professionally.
So, ask yourself, “If I’m feeling angry, what optimal/healthy ways do I have to calm myself down?” or “If I’m feeling hurt, what healthy ways do I have to make myself feel better?”
Last, but certainly not least, you need to check what hat you are wearing. As a woman, you wear many hats. Once you have a child—especially a daughter—it is not uncommon for a mother to desire to have a close friendship relationship with her. I find that sometimes moms err in putting the cart before the horse and they shortchange the discipline in the hopes of establishing that “friendship” early in their daughter’s life. But this approach, unfortunately, tends to backfire when the umph behind any of their discipline attempts doesn’t stick.
Wearing the friendship hat, instead of the mother hat, can lead to unhealthy mother-daughter relationship patterns [Note: for more about the different mother-daughter relationship patterns, read my book.]
Don’t worry. You will get the closeness and friendship at the tail end. For now, on the front end of things, just keep applying the S.W.I.T.C.H.