“Out of Control” Parenting

Let’s face it, parenting is not for the feint of heart, especially when you’ve decided to give your child a much different upbringing to your own. We’ve certainly had our challenges over these few short years and they’re all a direct result of our choice to raise a strong, independent thinker. (Damn it!)

A few months ago, just after she turned 6, I started looking for some specific support because discipline wasn’t working and we felt we’d tried everything. Well, almost everything – we don’t hit/spank (or whatever name you need to give it) and we don’t support it – at all.

I came across Dr. Shefali, followed her facebook page for a little while and really liked what I was reading. Her book, Out of Control: Why Disciplining Your Child Doesn’t Work and What Will,  was my first kindle purchase. What I got out of this one book was so much more than I expected. To put it simply, it’s a must-read for any forward thinking parent who wants a genuine connection with their child and themselves.

“The patterns of behavior we witness in childhood become the template for our own way of parenting. 

It’s because discipline focuses on behavior, not on the feelings driving the behavior, that it undercuts the very thing we are trying to accomplish.

We’ve been so schooled to impose “lessons” on our children that it feels counterintuitive to allow the lesson to emerge naturally out of the situation.

The reality is that children learn not because we tell them, but from how we relate to them. It’s the difference between “doing to” versus “doing with.”

To give a child things or deprive them because to do so matches our subconscious agenda – our unresolved emotional baggage – rather than aligning with their developmental needs, is to court conflict.

Each moment with our child is a reflection of the past and a foundation for the future.

It’s the dynamic that arises from insisting on our parental agenda that creates the need for discipline.

When it comes to accepting ourselves as imperfect, we set the tone for our children. The degree to which they accept their imperfections tends to be the degree to which we accept and honor our own.

To be present for our children means to be aware of our own subconscious agenda so we don’t impose this on our children.

If a parent puts out the kind of vibes that welcome feelings, even when the feelings are difficult to tolerate, the child picks up on this, eventually learning how to manage their feelings in a healthy manner.

There are all kinds of ways we can help our children cope with their world. Creativity is what’s needed, not admonish- ment or discipline.

Our children didn’t come into the world to be our puppets. They came here to struggle, fumble, thrive and enjoy a journey for which they need our encouragement.”

It’s helped us a lot. Sure, we’re still working it out – changing age-old thought patterns doesn’t happen overnight and natural consequences aren’t always easy to see, let alone explain. The thought processes shared in this book resonate with and work for us. Who knows, maybe it will work for you too.


Parenting – it’s bloody hard, but it’s bloody awesome! Our children are our most authentic mirrors and our greatest teachers.


About Salt Mama Studio

A trusted name in Family & Creative Portrait Photography; Salt Mama Studio offers a unique experience for parents who want to slow down and capture themselves and their relationship with their children, just as they are now.

Keep up to date via my newsletter or follow Salt Mama Studio on social media:

Leave a Reply