What is the balance between – Freedom, Empowerment and Discipline?

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Am I empowering, or, am I demanding ‘too-much’ from my children?

It is the never-ending argument between me and my partner: I think I am empowering our children, and she says I am expecting too much. She claims that I am dictating the ‘family-life’ when I demand too much from the children, and I find that she is ‘too-easy’ on their behavior in the family.
Then – sometimes later, the whole family goes on a ‘roller-coaster’ of frustration and disappointments from all sides – through questions like: How come they do not understand? Why don’t they keep their agreements? Why is the house looking like after a ‘revolution-war’ and when will they grow-up?!
We want to empower our children, to be independent and free. But when they take actions, which we find that contradict our expectations – we ask them: ‘who allowed you to do so?’ ‘Why didn’t you ask permission?’ ‘Why didn’t you understand by yourself?’ No wonder that what our kids start to avoid us. And then, we start to ask ourselves – Why aren’t they sharing with us openly? There are several keys that are necessary to solve these complications:

  • Family vision and agreed mutual platform of the family. Family vision will create a platform for all family-members, to identify themselves, and thus ‘will put all noses in the same direction’.
  • Agreed boundaries of the freedom amongst the leaders of the family – in most cases – the parents. These boundaries are not set to limit the freedom, but to clarify the boundaries of the ‘play-field’ named – family.
  • Coordination of diversity of solutions in specific events. This coordination will leave every parent in a functional effective zone, without necessity to be the copy of the other parent, and yet will create a platform of agreed differences.
  • Simple and supportive ‘house-rules’. House rules are important for all members of the family to create mutual clarity for ‘family-unity’.

All these are quite simple to achieve – once there is clarity how the process is worked out. After being ready with all those – come the next step – launching these keys in a wise way into the reality of the family.


This is the second in a series of blogs by Yiftach Sagiv about how we can raise happy and powerful kids. If you want to know more about the program than go to the Essence website for more info.

2 thoughts on “What is the balance between – Freedom, Empowerment and Discipline?

  1. Ilya

    First, I must say that it was an interesting post. Correct me if I’m wrong, the very first thing you suggest is being much more open to the behavior of the children, as they don’t really know what do their parents expect from them. What actually means, have as little rules as I can for the children.
    Although, you also suggest that rules should be practiced in the house. I guess, that you mean that the rules that we have in the house should be well known to the children, so that they would know what do their parents expect from them. Parents know the best way treating the children’s behavior as the rules create a platform upon which they can see whether the children just made a mistake or broke a rule. And it creates roles for each of the parents, so that the parents can coordinate without that many arguments the process of raising the children.

    Reply
    1. Yiftach Sagiv

      Dear Ilya. thank you for your response and questions. I will expand a bit these points.
      1) We need to have a family vision. A vision that will contain all individuals of the family – as a moral platform for the longer future. Most families do not have a vision, and this is one of the main causes for high rate of separation and divorce.
      2) Freedom and Discipline – it looks as if it is a contradiction, while actually it is the other way around. A high-quality pilot needs to have high self-discipline to experience the freedom of flying the aircraft safely. The same stands for every activity. Unfortunately most people find rules limiting freedom, instead of understanding the purpose of the rules. The purpose of the rules is to serve all participants to get the most of the organization or activity. In this case of the family organization. When we as parents – are looking at rules as limiting freedom, we shall bring up our children wrongly, and create for them a need to break rules, instead of using rules for their benefits. In nature there very clear rules, that if we violate,we may even die. So we need to shift our approach regarding to this issue.
      3) When creating the rules, WE need to verify that the rules are designed to serve all members of the family to fulfill the vision and the individuals .
      4) Empowerment – when we delegate the vision, values and the rules, WE need to show our children – how all of this platform is going to serve them for a healthier sustainable successful future.

      Unfortunately most parents are not familiar with these parts.
      There are more important steps that are not mentioned here.

      Reply

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