Authority That's Positive
Authority is not just about correction. Another side of authority is contributive. As a parent, you exercise contributive authority by providing positives in your child's life that you control — resources, permissions, encouragement, help, support, advocacy, protection, knowledge, instruction, coaching, and praise, for example.
Generally speaking, the more you have to correct, the more you should also demonstrate the positive, contributive side of your authority. Otherwise, your child will begin to feel that your authority is all negative, when it is not.
Contributive authority is particularly important in second marriages where one partner is now stepparent to the other's child. Before the stepparent even thinks of exercising corrective authority, he or she should establish a base of contributive authority with the stepchild.
In the beginning, the biological parent should be the one providing any correction. The stepfather or stepmother needs time to build up a solid base of positive authority before beginning to enforce corrective discipline. If the stepchild has been given no positive authority on the part of the stepparent to accept, then he or she is unlikely to accept the negative.
Can a parent regain authority once it has been lost?
Yes. Just put your child on the reactive by initiating more authority behaviors. The message these actions send is, “So long as you live with me, you have to live on my terms.”