Disciplining our children can be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. Some parents have a problem with it right from the beginning and others will get worn down over time and then begin to have discipline problems.
In a society where discipline is viewed in many different ways, we don’t always know where to look for guidance. Some people believe that we shouldn’t discipline our children at all, just to let them go and do what they want. After all they are independent human beings. Who are we to tell them what to do, what’s right and wrong. (Does anyone else think this is absolutely crazy thinking!?)
Others will agree that their way is right and your way is wrong.
While some will go overboard with discipline and then wonder why their children have been lost to worldly values and morals. Lost to a delinquent life.
No matter what your methods are for disciplining your children, know that emotions and discipline are not a good combination. They just don’t work together.
As a mother, I know that days can be long. It doesn’t matter if you have both parents in the home, are a single parent, work a job (or 3) and parent or parent only. Any combination of activities in your day is exhausting. Which means, that we don’t usually want to spend the extra effort to figure out this whole discipline thing. It’s just easier to let our emotions control the situation, the discipline and the children. This results in yelling at the kids to get them to do what we want. And often without much success.
Children know our breaking points, and will push us right up to it, right to when we’re yelling. Some will push just a little further, to get a way with a little more this time. But they know. They know you will break. You will cave. You will yell. It’s a game for them. And they are winning! How do they know? Because you are yelling and losing control of your emotions.
We have to learn to leave our emotions out of discipline and this means coming up with a plan of attack before there is a problem. This means setting boundaries ahead of time for the children. Explaining what and why there are boundaries. And what the consequences will be if the boundaries are broken.
Not only do we need to leave our emotions out of discipline, but we need to take action on what we have decided to do.
No action means no discipline.
If we let it go by the wayside, our children will know that we don’t take our boundaries seriously.
They will learn to not believe what we say or even trust us.
Just like drinking and driving don’t mix, neither do emotions and discipline. Maybe we need to start a new group, Parent’s Against Emotional Discipline!!
Remember to discipline in love. We want to shape the will of our children without breaking their spirit. Their spirit is tied to their self-worth, and that’s one thing you don’t want to ruin. As Dr. James Dobson says, “You want to create firm limits administered with love where the spirit has a chance to grow, where self worth has a chance to flower and where the will begins to be shaped”.
11 Steps to Discipline
- Get Child’s Attention: Ask child to put down what he is currently doing, look you in the eyes.
- Give a Time Limit: Explain he has 20 more minutes and he can do anything that he’s allowed to do.
- Show Him Time: Take him to a clock or alarm. Explain that when the hand hits here, time is up. When the buzzer rings, time is up. Not 5 minutes after, not 3 minutes, not 10 seconds.
- Ask Him if He Understands
- Ask Him if He Has Any Questions about the task.
- Hold Him Accountable: When that buzzer goes off, you must take ACTION. See if he has put his stuff away or down and gone off to do what you asked him to do.
- Discipline: This can come in many forms and everyone is different in this. (you may or may not agree with all of them, use what you believe is right): Some ideas are:
- Take toys away
- Create a checkpoint system & chart
- Take digital time away
- For each offense, make them go to bed 30 minutes early
- You will have to be creative here.
- Tell Them That You Didn’t Enjoy That: Let the child know you didn’t get any pleasure out of disciplining, that you did not enjoy that.
- Explain Why You Have to Discipline (ex: But listen to me, tomorrow night is going to be the same way, you decide. You see, I am your mother and I have to be sure you get enough rest, and if you don’t get enough rest, you won’t do well in school and I love you too much to see that happen. So when I tell you that you have to do this task, that means you have to do this task. And this wont be the only time this will happen. In your whole childhood I will have to tell you what you need to do because I love you and want you to be safe and grow up to be healthy. And if you decide not to do what I tell you to do, then you will have to face the consequences because that’s life.) You are hooking behavior with consequences
- Take Action: You must follow through always with action. If discipline isn’t working, it’s often because we’ve stopped taking action on it.
- Change the Discipline: If you are following through and it’s not working anymore then make a change. You will have to make discipline changes through the child’s life.
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