Parenting dilemma: Do we need to discipline our kids?

by Jelena

In the next series of blogs, I’ll share with you some of my go-to notes when I get trapped in the drama of “disciplining kids”. Most of the usual day to day activities with kids turn into drama when I am not well rested or when I’m stressed. Since I am the one who drives this body and mind through life, I have taken responsibility and started looking for answers and help from people with experience, books and workshops. 

When the series of sleepless nights happen, I turn into a grumpy mom. I am less patient and calm, I exaggerate and overreact even to simple things. Almost everything around me I observe from the place of lack – lack of sleep, lack of time, lack of energy, lack of patience and lack of self-love. 

I have imagined things differently and now when they are not as I planned, I feel like I need to resist and fight to set them straight. 

I started being more aware of my crazy moments and negative emotions now that I do my inner-work. I can reset myself. Ask for help, rest when I need to. Before I thought I was the victim and everyone else was testing me. 

On a challenging day, I tend to allow my subconscious programs to surface and override my promises of how I want to parent my kids

I turn into a person who instead of connecting wants to correct, and instead of understanding wants to discipline and punish.

I even start wondering whether I had it all wrong when I thought that spanking is not a solution… maybe it is?

I always seek for help and answers in the books. Then I even call the authors of those books to chat with them and clarify things that I didn’t understand well. I go to people with experience, I speak with other parents, I go on Youtube, check out podcasts and blogs…When I want to solve my daily puzzles, I found that these paths work really well for me.

In the next series of blogs, I’ll share with you some of my go-to notes when I get trapped in the drama of “disciplining kids” when I’m not really myself. These notes are from the book by Dr. Shefali TsabaryOut of Control: Why Disciplining Your Child Doesn’t Work and What will.”

 It is not a manual for parents like some other books try to be. It doesn’t tell you how to make your child listen to you. The goal is not to make your child obedient, but authentic. It shows us how in order to parent our kids, we need to focus on ourselves the most. In so many ways we are the kids parenting the kids.

We have to work on being present, conscious and whole. We shouldn’t parent from our brokenness. We shouldn’t push our own agenda on them.

 The goal of parenting is to love our child from an inner feeling of abundance, which means we don’t approach them with fear for their wellbeing or success. Because we feel complete in ourselves, we have no need to make them conform to a need within ourselves. We meet our own needs from the authentic sense of ourselves we have begun to recover, which allows us to be there for our children in the way they require, free of neediness on our part. How they look or perform is no reflection on us. Wanting them to be happy and successful because we will feel better if they are falls by the wayside.


The truth is, when you start your inner work, you let go of the idea that perfect parenting exists. You accept that you are not perfect, but awake. You accept that your child is perfect as is. You don’t label situations as good or bad, but you take them as they are.

You are in the ISness mode, not Business mode.

When you are in the ISness mode you accept things as they are. You don’t read into them and you don’t let your fears overtake you. You refuse to be Ego- driven because you can feel the difference between your thoughts and your inner being. 

When we are in the business mode we allow ourselves to label things as good or bad. We see things as either black or white, and we are trapped in only seeing the duality of things. We play a movie in our mind of how our lives and lives of our kids are meant to be.

We are not even aware of how much those expectations are influencing the quality of our life because we are in the business mode – doing, making, creating. We don’t take no for an answer, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure that the movie hits the box office – one way, or another. 

Our kids have a role to play, the one we scripted for them – they need to be obedient, kind, generous, successful, good looking, healthy… No pressure. When they are not, we cannot accept that maybe that’s just not how they wish to be or how they see themselves. The things we wish for them might not be what makes them happy. However, we make sure that they do as we told them because we know better. We are older, wiser, and we have experience. 

What if instead of disciplining them, we find a way to acknowledge them for being true to themselves? Behind every child’s behavior, there is a need. It is our job to connect with them and understand what that need is.

The truth is – we are still learning what love is. When we discover love from within and start loving our true being, we can bring that love to the surface and love our kids the way we should. Not from control, fear or neediness. But from the place of divinity where we are all loved just the way we are.

I have made so many notes on this topic, I cannot wait to share them with you. For those of you who are not parents, I think you will love reading these blogs too. They help you a lot with your inner work because despite what you may think – you are also parenting yourself through life.

It’s good to acknowledge the child within you and nurture it with love, patience, and respect.

Mind you, in the world of children mistakes happen all the time and we have all the luxury of this world to practice being better at helping them grow from those mistakes. 

Kids are sent to us so we can grow with them too.

Please share with me in the comments below how you feel about disciplining kids? In what way you connect with kids? In which situations you feel helpless as a parent? 

To the ones who are not parents yet – do you remember what methods your parents used to help you go through the perks of being a child? Did they take away your phone, shorten your playdates, no TV? How did it make you feel? It feels good to reflect on our childhood! 

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Kristina March 15, 2019 - 12:20 am

Hi Jelena,

I believe that you are making very valid points about parenting in this post and I like the way you relate the book to your own personal experience of being a parent. You are very honest and open in sharing things that not a lot of people are willing to share.
I am not a parent yet but if I ever become one, I would like to allow my child to grow to be a happy and positive person. I believe that this is a difficult task considering all of the social media and the overabundance of information. I would like to allow my child to understand that the outside noise is just that – noise. What is truly important is what lies within. I will teach my child values that will allow him/her to become a good person. If my child has a dream, I will support this dream from the very beginning and will not prevent him/her from following his/her own path. I don’t think, however, that there is any correct formula of being a parent. Probably all of us end up learning about being parents, once this happens, and we learn every single day from that moment forward.
As for my own upbringing. I don’t ever remember being punished by my parents for anything. I believe that I have always been a very responsible person and even if I make a mistake, I will be the first one to admit it and punish myself in some way. For example, I tend to isolate a bit when I feel like I have done something wrong or feel like I have let somebody down. Even now that I have grown up, I sometimes completely shut off from the outside world in an attempt to understand why I have behaved in a particular way. And, it is especially difficult to understand if the problem lies in me, and I know that to an extent it does. But now I try to remove these negative thoughts, and like you have mentioned above, I try to be in a state of ISness. This means that I accept the situation the way it is. I am making attempts to parent myself as I am learning from different mistakes and situations. The funny thing is that the more I learn, the more I realize that I know almost nothing. I have a question, though, how do you parent yourself and how do you remove these thoughts that you are not doing something correctly or that you are not good enough in some way? The answer can even be from the perspective of your role as a parent. Thank you again for another enlightening post!

Much love,

Jelena March 17, 2019 - 9:00 pm

Dear Kristina,

You sound like an old soul 🙂

I don’t really have an answer, remember, as a student of life I am full of questions myself. The more I learn the more I discover how little I know and how relative knowledge is… That doesn’t stop me from learning though 🙂

When I gave birth to our kids I think there was another child that was born in the room and stayed with me (only me!) and his name is Guilt. Seriously – it goes with me everywhere!
When I do something really well, that child called Guilt wonders “Is that all you’ve got? You couldn’t have done it better?”, and wait for this. When I’ve done something that I am not proud of, it goes in full blast mode at me “How could you do this? You are a mess, you always make mistakes and hurt around you. You don’t deserve to… You are going to…”

I am quite aware of my thoughts at the moment. I worked hard to get here.
However, I am yet to learn not to react to them and to accept them as they are. My kids were the biggest changemakers in my life. What you know, and you are not a parent yet, is something that I found out only when I became one. I feel like they were sent to me as teachers and sometimes I am fighting the teachers a bit because they are so demanding… lol

I also know one thing – let go of expectations. They are deal breakers. You cannot plan things ahead if you are present. You cannot commit to doing something unless you experience it… I am having a hard time applying this to all I do and live, but I am trying. One step at a time.

Much love to you!

Kristina March 24, 2019 - 11:29 pm

Dear Jelena,

Thank you for sharing something so personal! I do feel like an old soul, although I still have the tendency to act like a kid sometimes.
Just like you, I tend to carry this Guilt with me, and I realize that Guilt is associated with my fears – fears of failure, missing out, being misunderstood and so on. But I have been working hard to let go of these fears, and make decisions and move through life more confidently. I have been reading more books trying to know myself better and I believe that I have made progress to knowing and appreciating myself.
You are absolutely right about expectations. When I set my expectations too high, I plan everything in advance and I imagine how life can and will be. When life doesn’t go as planned, due to my high expectations, I feel like I have done something wrong, when this is not the case in reality. What’s more, I have found out that when I have high expectations of myself, which I can barely meet myself, I have high expectations of others. These expectations can ruin relationships because I often assume that others are like me, and show their love and appreciation the same way, while they don’t. This comes from me trying to make everything perfect, fix everything and everyone, nd control every detail of my life. This is so tiring and pointless because nothing is ever perfect, which is what makes life so beautiful. Like you have mentioned, these expectations are true deal breakers. When I run into a situation that I believe I could have handled differently, I always remind myself that I have done enough, that I am enough, that I am worthy and whatever is meant to happen will eventually happen.

Much love to you as well,

Josephine March 15, 2019 - 11:17 am

Jelena, you couldn’t have written this blog at a better time! A time when i am so conflicted as a parent when it comes to disciplining kids and “making” them be obedient. So just like i began reading about parenting, and got intrigued by the book Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn which gave me a new perspective regarding compulsive compliance in children. Before reading that book, and reading your blog, my goal was to have an obedient child. And now i am hanging on to every word you said, that the goal is not to have an obedient child but an authentic child. I can not wait to read more from you on this topic.
Before all this reading, i used spanking, and denying phone privileges as a means of disciplining. I am not surprised none of them worked long term, so now am changing tact, and dropping punishments.

Jelena March 17, 2019 - 9:05 pm

Josephine, I hear you!
Luckily we have help! I was feeling helpless myself and full of guilt because what I thought in my mind about parenting and kids was way different in real life… and luckily – there are incredible books to go to. That’s how I found support!
I will share as much as I can and thank you for sharing your book recommendation too. We are all in this together, it is not easy being a parent…. it is such a dominant role we have, and the most important one, and yet it comes in a package with other roles too (businesswoman, wife, daughter, sister…) so you don’t have time to focus your energy and time properly. Hang in there and keep growing. This is such a wonderful journey and we have to find gratitude within and enjoy these blessings consciously!
Much love

Michela March 15, 2019 - 6:27 pm

Hi Jelena, your advice are very interesting, I like it. I was very young when I became mom and I loved to stay with my children. I played with them and left them free to act . They wrote on the walls at home because I thought that they should express their creativity and feel free. I grew up with them and now they are two fantastic good adults. Now I’m a grandmother, I have 4 kids (11,9,8,7 years) and I’m the same of 40 years ago, mentally of course. They love to stay with me and I think it needs a lot of love and respect each others and not to impose them.
I’m happy to share it with you, thank you Jelena
Ciao Michela

Jelena March 17, 2019 - 9:07 pm

we have a long way to go to follow your footsteps. Thank you for showing us it is possible! Thank you for letting your children be 🙂

Karla Colin Gomez March 15, 2019 - 7:49 pm

Disciplina con amor …. Book by Rosa Barocio
“How to set limits without being guilty”.

Jelena March 17, 2019 - 9:07 pm

Yes please! Thank you for the recommendation! Much love!

Natalija March 15, 2019 - 9:26 pm

Draga Jelena

Hvala na odabiru teme, za mene veoma aktuelne.
Kao majka dvogodišnjeg deteta i sama sam prošla kroz kroz momente tokom kojim sam se pitala sta uopšte znaci biti dobar roditelj? Dobar kome?
Sebi, tj svom egu ili detetu?
Na samom početku, verovatno iz osećaja nesigurnosti i želje da sve uradim “perfektno” više sam posezala za literaturom koja je išla u pravac discipline beba i kasnije dece.
Shvativši veoma brzo (srećom 🙂 ) da kao sto ne postoji univerzalni pravilnik ni za jednog odraslog čoveka , a kamoli za decu i bebe, počela sam sve više da verujem a kasnije i da osećam da raspoloženje i reakcije u mnogome zavise od toga kako se ja zapravo osećam. Gotovo sam sigurna da deca osim sto upijaju našu svakodnevnicu kroz ono sto vide , takodje i jako dobro mogu da osete i upiju ono sto mi mame pre svega osećamo.
Upravo to je bila velika motivacija za mene da radim više na sebi , a ne na iskljucivo na detetu da bi postala bolji roditelj.
Ono sto mi je možda i najviše pomoglo je meditacija, a u momentima umora i razdrazljivosti kad mi je bilo čak i teško da meditiram joga nidra. Pored toga pomogli mi je citanje knjiga koje pomažu ličnom razvoju.
Ono sto ja kao roditelj pokušavam je da razumem stadijum razvoja svog deteta, dam mu koliko je moguće više podrske, topline i sigurnosti. Trudim se da pričam sa svojim detetom puno- iako je napunilo tek dve godine. Pokušavam da mu pružim raznovrsne sadržaje da bi uopšte i prepoznali šta je to sto ga (makar trenutno) interesuje i pokreće. Lično nisam za sistem nagradjivanja i kažnjavanja , ali za agrumentovano postavljanje odredjenih granica.
Za sada funkcionišemo poprilično dobro ovako- ali dug put je još pred nama 🙂
Radujem se svakom narednom blogu posvećenom sličnim temama!! Hvala Jelena!

Jelena March 17, 2019 - 9:10 pm

Draga Natalija,

Ovo je velika istina. Deca upijaju nasu energiju vise nego reci. Neverovatno ali istinito… Toliko su cisti, ne mozemo da ih prevarimo iako mislimo da to uspesno radimo.
I ja sam krenula slicnim putem kao i vi – knjige, rad na sebi, meditacija… 🙂

Puno ljubavi i sa srecom,

Jelena March 16, 2019 - 6:19 am

Cao Jelena. Kao roditelj deteta od 6 i 1,5 god. ovakvih tekstova i tema nikad dosta. Iz licnog iskustva potpisujem svaku tvoju napisanu rec. Dosta sam citala na tu temu a i licno se “ konsultovala” sa psihologom upojedinim trenucima kada mi je bilo jasno da nesto moram da promenim. I da,uvek bih dosla do toga da je zapravo kljuc u nama samima. Deca su samo nasa ogledala(to si cini mi se i sama vise puta pomenula).Osvešćivanje toga mi je u mngome pomoglo i donelo boljitak,ali se cesto osecam da samtek na pocetku tog procesa.I potrebno mi je s vremena na vreme ponovno osvescivanje,jer je valjda negde i normalno da upadamo iznova u licne zamke skovane od ega i usadjenih normi i obrazaca ponasanja koje vucemo jos od nasih roditelja.Radujem se tvojim novim tekstovima na tu temu,upravo zbog osvescivanja koje sam pomenula?Hvala ti!

Jelena March 17, 2019 - 9:12 pm

Draga Jelena, i ja se tako osećam. Nikad kraja radu na sebi. A onda se ljutimo na decu sto je i njima potreban rad (pa stalno grese i “nerviraju” nas) a u stvari – i oni i mi smo konstantan “work in progress” – ne dolazi mi ovaj izraz na srpskom oprostite, pisala sam dosta odgovora na engleskom pa mi je mozak na toj strani sada 🙂

Carrie Bauer March 17, 2019 - 5:19 pm

Hello Jelena,
This is a great topic! Once again you have done your research and shared wonderful insights into parenting. I really appreciate how you approached the subject and brought love into lt. By sharing your research and knowledge to those who have children and to those who have not yet experienced parenthood, you are allowing them to keep growing as parents. It is a beautiful journey. There are learning curves that is for certain. My children are older now, two girls ages 27 and 22. I had my first daughter at 28 yrs old. I am thankful I was older and had more patience. However, I wish I could have had the information that we know today vs 1991 and 1996!! One thing I am very thankful for is that I had knowledge of how important early brain development was and started instilling that as soon as possible. By giving both of my children that type of gentle educational nurturing, they both learned how to use their problem solving skills at the young age! That may seem over the top to some people, but both of my children were able be less frustrated in certain situations and it gave them the tools they needed to problem solve. There will be times of course where nothing will stop the meltdown but it will be less frequent. Also as a parent you will most definitely make mistakes because you are human. If I found myself getting frustrated and snapping at my little ones, I would leave the room if possible, take a deep breath and go back to them with as much love and understanding as possible. As a parent you are constantly learning and have to not be hard on yourself. You are doing the best you can. Just keep being there for them and keep looking at these little humans with wonder and amazement. The most important thing I learned with parenting is to keep giving them love and security. Letting my first child be who she is was the best choice I made as a parent. She was trying to find her own way too! Second daughter I was 33, much easier because I had learned so much patience and giving with the first child. I was able to relax more as a parent, less intense with my boundaries and like my other daughter, just let her be who she was.
As your children get older you will face new challenges and set new boundaries. Love, patience, security and understanding are the basics of parenting. It never changes through the years. Let them be as authentic as possible. Both of my daughters were given their space to be independent and have their own thoughts. But I also gave them boundaries which they never questioned or complained about. The best part is now with all of the information available I can communicate even better with my two young adults and we are all on our beautiful spiritual journey together. Being a parent is so rewarding. I am very grateful and very blessed!
Thank you again for your beautiful blog!
With love and light,

Jelena March 17, 2019 - 9:13 pm

Dear Carrie,
This is so deep and meaningful to read. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. It really means a lot and I am sure many will agree here. Thank you for being here with us on this blog and joining with your life story!
Much love,

Carrie Bauer March 18, 2019 - 12:34 am

Dear Jelena,
I left a comment above in regards to your amazing parenting topic. However, I am now replying to your comment above to Kristina. I felt the need to respond based on your remarks about your “guilt” as I too had many experiences with that same emotion while parenting and just dealing with life. One of my very favorite spiritual gurus is Gary Zukav. This is what I learned from him that changed my way of thinking about feeling guilty. These are his words. “Guilt comes from fear. Your spiritual growth requires challenging fear and cultivating love. Holding onto your thoughts and feeling of guilt will not support you or anyone else. They prevent you from living in love, creating in love, and enjoying yourself in love. Guilt impairs your ability to learn from your experiences. When you see something that you could have done differently, or wish you had done differently, remember how you could have spoken or acted in love instead of fear so that you can apply what you have learned next time (not to make yourself feel more guilty). Your experiences are designed to inform, support, and benefit you, not cause you to contract into fear and remorse. ”
“You cannot give the gifts that your soul wants you to give while you are feeling guilty. Your gift may be to raise a family, create a new kind of business, write books, dance, or any of countless things. Whatever it is, it will fulfill you as you give it and lead you to your next gifts. It will bring you joy. You cannot give any of your gifts while you are caught in fear – for example, anger, jealousy, despair, superiority, inferiority, and guilt.”
I found Gary Zukav through Oprah Winfrey. He changed my life in a million different ways. You are an incredible young person who is truly making a valuable contribution to the world. Your life is very busy and I am sure you have become a very good multi-tasker with your career, your children and living with a tennis superstar. One of the most amazing things I have found out about myself (my Soul) is that I am a Lightworker and I see that in you. A Lightworker soul is awake, conscious that their presence matters and that they are part of something that is bigger than them and is someone who wholeheartedly makes the decision to make the world a brighter place by them being in it. Your children are very lucky to have a wise mother at the age of 32!
With love,

Jelena March 18, 2019 - 6:16 am

Thank you for your kind words and for sharing these paragraphs. I just purchased the book – the quotes you shared deeply resonated with me and I love Oprah’s book club! I think I listened to his podcast with Oprah when he was with his wife talking about a spiritual partnership if that’s him? Thank you once again!

Michela March 19, 2019 - 11:21 pm

Thanks to you, Jelena. It’s a pleasure to hear from you and share your advice with us. Love

Craig Woods May 9, 2019 - 12:10 pm

Jelena, I sent you a copy of my book, The Labyrinth to your Novak Foundation in Belgrade, Serbia a few weeks ago. I hope you received it.

─Craig Woods

Jelena May 30, 2019 - 8:03 am

I’ve got it Craig!!! Thank you very much!

Craig Woods June 3, 2019 - 8:24 pm

It is a pleasure and an honour. 🙂

Craig Woods May 30, 2019 - 10:07 am

Yay! Happy reading! ??


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