I remember when I first met Bonnie in 2003 when we were both exhausted, hard-working interns at The Maple Counseling Center. Bonnie started working at WBC in 2009 and in addition to seeing clients she took on designing our technical and administrative procedures. I had no idea what a gift she would be. She was amazing at problem solving technical issues and really embraced the spirit of the place — in fact I used to call her Mama Bonnie because she never forgot to get gifts and treats for everyone’s birthdays, always kept the place neat and tidy, and presented a warmth that everyone felt whenever she was around. She also became a gifted clinician.
While working at WBC full time, she got licensed, became a certified EMDR therapist and created, improved, and fixed all kinds of systems that helped make the center function. During these busy years she also kept her small private practice going which, in recent years, (and in her words) “has exploded” leading to her desire to spend all her professional time doing EMDR, which is really her first love.
Bonnie became more than my co-worker, she became my good friend — and like all good friends, we have had our share of differences, but we have never forgotten our common roots and our mutual passion to see WBC’s mission realized. I will always treasure our friendship and the years we spent launching WBC. We had a blast.
Bonnie — Again, I can never thank you enough for all your innovative thinking, loving spirit, and graceful beauty. We will all miss you, but I will miss you the most.
Deborah Groening is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), and Certified Infant-Parent Mental Health Specialist. She is also the Clinic Director of Well Baby Center.
What is discipline? Many of us have strong feelings about the meaning of this word that stem largely from what we know and remember from our own childhoods. Interestingly, the origin of the word in Latin means ‘pupil’ or ‘disciple’ and has its roots in the idea of education. During the Middle Ages the word entered the English language where it was defined as punishment.
For some of us when we think of discipline we think of this later meaning. When our children are not listening, or ignoring a limit we have set multiple times, or “talking back”, this is when the urge to punish can surface. Yet when our children are struggling with their emotions or feelings around a limit, that is precisely when they need our help the most to feel stable in the midst of their emotional instability. These are also the times when they need us to love them, a word we do not associate with punishment. Knowing this doesn’t mean it’s easy as a parent to remain calm and willing to teach, especially as emotions begin to run high between both parent and child.
So how do we manage to return to a state of equilibrium when our own emotions are activated? We press pause and we ask ourselves, “What am I teaching my child in this moment? What kind of relationship do I really want?”
Self-regulation is a valuable tool of this type of discipline and sometimes a simple few deep breaths, or stepping away for a moment can help us regain our sense of direction and get back on track.
Dan Siegel., M.D., in his book “No Drama Discipline” highlights the moments of conflict in the parent/child relationship as opportunities for the child to learn and understand what is happening. Because Loving Discipline is a relational model we also include the parent in this notion. What is the parent learning about themselves and their role during conflict?
Thus, in the Loving Discipline workshop we attempt to reframe the difficult moments in childrearing by embracing the idea that we are in a process of gaining knowledge: about our child, ourselves and the ever-evolving relationship.
Sophie Levy, MFT
Sophie Levy is a Marriage and Family Therapist, and Mindful Parenting Group facilitator. She also leads the one-day Loving Discipline parenting workshops at Well Baby Center.