After 21 years of parenting, LOTS of trial and error and blood, sweat and tears my husband and I finally wrote down our parenting values. If we had done these 21 years ago, or even 5 years ago they would have been different. However due to life circumstances, lots of challenging parenting situations, hard work and quite honestly therapy we have landed on these 6 values. They are our guiding principles when communicating with and disciplining our kids. These are ideal, we certainly aren't perfect at them, but they are our guide. These also can be mantras and affirmations to repeat when you are in the midst of parenting challenges.
Kids do well when they can. Such a simple phrase, but so powerful. We learned this from Dr. Ross Greene a child psychologist who has written multiple books that have helped us greatly. (my best parenting book ideas is another blog post on the docket). If kids are struggling it's due to lack of skills, lagging emotional development, unmet or impossible expectations, overwhelm, anxiety, depression, OCD or even the fact they are tired and hangry.
Behavior is communication. What is that tantrum, defiance or whining telling you? There's always something deeper than just the behavior. See above reasons why kids "misbehave". I actually really dislike that word, kids are communicating, often they don't have the words or knowledge on how to communicate their needs or there could be something much deeper going on.
The behaviors are challenging, the child is not. Children are inherently good. They are divine and valuable, NO MATTER THEIR BEHAVIOR. This lens of seeing their value no matter what they do will send them the message they are loved for who they are, not what they do. It will give them the security that their parents will be there for them no matter what.
De-escalate first, problem solve later. When kids are flooded with emotion, they aren't listening to you. Their brain is in fight or flight mode and they cannot listen and learn. Work on connection, de-escalate, be their safe place. You can discuss and teach later when their brain is working normally.
The relationship with your child is most important. Connect first, then correct. Correct in private. Your self control is key, be the eye of the storm. If this issue won't matter in 6 months, don't spend a lot of time on it. Don't catastrophize the future and worry that if you don't solve this issue RIGHT NOW they will grow up to be a criminal. Life is long, they have lots of chances to learn how to be a good human. Work on your relationship most, let some things go.
Don't take it personally, it's not about you. Sometimes when my kids are flooded and being defiant and scream "I hate you". It's really challenging not to take offense and be triggered and scream back. However, it's really not about me. They are struggling, they are trying to figure life out with all the big decisions, life lessons and adversities. I can make the choice to realize this is their journey and is about them, not me. I can make the choice to stay calm and not be offended. I can be the eye of the storm and be there for them when they struggle. It's not my job to clear their path of pain and struggle, it is my job to help them learn the tools and be their soft place and someone they know they can trust implicitly.
Here is a printable of the above list of values if you want it to hang up and remember these guides to your relationship and disciplining your child.