• Melodie Sterrett

What Makes Me Feel Safe

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Using boundaries correctly captures a "want to" attitude in the person

It is often a held belief that loving a child produces a feeling of security. This is a misunderstanding of the truth. Love develops a person’s personal worth but boundaries/discipline is what produces feelings of security. Studies have found that if a playground is fenced, children will play near the fence. If, however, there is no fence children will play near the buildings by the playground. Boundaries give security.

We often think of discipline as punishment but that is not accurate. Discipline involves training, reward and consequences for disobedience to the training. These are the three necessities for security. Training involves making expectations crystal clear and then practice, practice, practice to build a habit of obedience. Without practice of the action expected you have only taught and not trained which will not develop any proper habit of life.

Reward is an incentive to follow the training. But the parent or authority has to be very attentive to catch the child doing something right. They will always move toward that which is rewarded. This attentiveness and focus on rewarding right actions is often tested in the parent during their child’s teen years. Rewards can be many things but the best one is making it clear that they have your approval and blessing!

Consequences are given according to the infraction. There are two kinds of infractions. The first is caused by childishness such as clumsily bumping into a table and breaking a lamp on that table. The right kind of consequences would be apologizing to the owner of the lamp then doing an additional job for that person at a certain monetary value until the lamp has been “paid for”. For instance vacuuming or picking up the living room in which the lamp was broken at a $1.00 a day value until the $35.00 lamp has been paid for. This trains an attitude of careful caring for the living room and the things in it.

The second kind of infraction is direct rebellion to a known rule which has had training done ahead of time. An example of this is a rule has been set that there is no running or wrestling in the living room. When a child thoughtlessly runs into the living room they are immediately required to go back out and walk back in three times. After several weeks of that training if the child then runs into the living room this is a direct disobedience and requires a stronger consequence that is a good memory booster that it is better to obey than to disobey. It is at this stage that you are building an inner belief system that will keep them driving safely later on or refraining from using drugs as a teen.

With students the expectations of the instructor need to be clearly defined at the beginning of the class year. The consequences are usually already established by the school. But don’t forget to creatively reward even the smallest good behavior and thus capture their “want to”.

Employees often experience consequences without knowing why so they have no chance to improve. For instance if a bonus is withheld or they are passed over for promotion it would reap better results if they were calmly showed that this was a result of lack of faithfulness or continual inattentiveness or lack of team work attitude. This way they are given a chance to improve and then receive reward for their efforts.

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