Common mistakes in disciplining boys

Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC Family Counselor, shares advice for parents on common and ineffective disciplining methods for young boys and explains a method that is more beneficial
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Common mistakes in disciplining boys

Adolescent boys can be a challenge, we all know that. They’re great guys, but they can be a challenge. And so we do have to provide discipline. And I find that if we make mistakes, sometimes we make mistakes by under disciplining them, and sometimes we make mistakes by over disciplining. So let’s watch for that. Under discipline is when we fear that we will destroy the self-esteem or the emotional development of the boy if we are too critical. If we tell them what to do. If we say, “That’s wrong and that’s it.” We don’t want to under discipline. We want to criticize if the guy deserves to be criticized. We want to provide consequences if the guy needs consequences. So let’s not under discipline. If we under discipline, we’re going to end up with a 30-year-old who doesn’t know who he is, doesn’t know how to act and doesn’t succeed. But on the other hand, we don’t want to over discipline. Over discipline is when we react to something right away, like a zero tolerance policy for bringing a penknife to school or whatever it is. That’s over discipline. We’re totally overreacting to the experimental nature of boys or to the curiosity of adolescent boys. So I use the 3 times rule. You can’t do this. You just did it. There’s a discipline for that, whatever it is, a consequence. Don’t do it again. Okay, he does it again. Okay, now we up tick it some. Okay, now you’re grounded for 3 days. And then the third time, if he’s done it again, and he absolutely knows it’s wrong, then that’s a big consequence. But we don’t give the big consequence right away for something that’s a normal, experimental behavior.

Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC Family Counselor, shares advice for parents on common and ineffective disciplining methods for young boys and explains a method that is more beneficial


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Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC

Family Counselor & Author

Michael Gurian is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 books published in 21 languages. He provides counseling services at the Marycliff Center, in Spokane, Washington. The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs and trains professionals. Michael has been called "the people's philosopher" for his ability to bring together people's ordinary lives and scientific ideas.

 He has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. A number of his books have sparked national debate, including The Wonder of Girls, The Wonder of Boys, and Boys and Girls Learn Differently!, and The Minds of Boys.

Michael has served as a consultant to families, corporations, therapists, physicians, school districts, community agencies, churches, criminal justice personnel and other professionals, traveling to approximately 20 cities per year to keynote at conferences. His training videos (also available as DVDs) for parents and volunteers are used by Big Brother and Big Sister agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

 As an educator, Michael previously taught at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and Ankara University.  His speaking engagements include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Macalester College, University of Colorado, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and UCLA. His philosophy reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern and American) in which he has lived, worked and studied.

Michael's work has been featured in various media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, People Magazine, Reader's Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS and National Public Radio.

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