Thursday, January 5, 2012

Disciplining your Children in Love

The topic of discipline has become so clouded that I think parents now just resort to none. While talking to a friend about a parenting conference she went to, I realized why so many parents just have no idea what to do.

We have so many "experts" telling us what to do that it becomes very confusing. Many of the "experts" have great things to say and great ideas. I'm afraid that so many of us try to use their ideas and end up unsuccessful. One reason may be we are hearing the idea from someone rather than seeing it in use.

The topic my friend and I were discussing was "not disciplining our children in anger". The speaker she heard said that you should never discipline your child in anger. My friend says that she feels like such a bad mom because so often she is angry when she is disciplining.

I have two things to say about that. First, I think there is a difference between anger and rage. We need to look at ourselves to determine where we fall during any given situation. The other is that I would say that I am angry about 50% of the time while I am disciplining my children.

To explain I have a few examples. If my 2 year old is repeatedly disobeying a rule in our home that is clearly known,then I am going to get angry at that child. If I walk away and cool off then come back ten minutes later to discipline, my child will be confused. Two year olds need to be corrected rather quickly to relate the offense with the correction. I do need to quickly check myself and then act.

Another example would be, if my six year old was told to leave my jewelry box alone. I come back later and find my new necklace broken. I ask you, wouldn't you be angry? Now the most loving and effective use of discipline is to sit the child down, explain the offense, discipline then hug and reassure them of your love, following up with a prayer together. This would be how I would handle this situation but I tell you I still would be angry at the point of discipline. If that necklace was a gift and was very special to me. But I would not discipline if I were in rage. We need to check ourselves first.

I assure you I am not just making these ideas up. I am pulling them straight from the place I ask you to get all of your advice. The word of God, my parenting handbook, the Bible. Anger is a normal human emotion. Even Jesus displayed anger in the temple when men were selling and conducting business in the temple of God. Anger in itself is not the problem it is what you do with it and where you let it go.

Now, back to the experts. Ideas are great to try but if you are not getting the results you want. First give it time, no child changes overnight. Then take some of the best advice I've ever heard. A financial guy I like to listen to says that If you want to have money, find someone who has some and holds your values. Then copy the habits they have. So, in other words find an experienced mom with great kids then watch her. I suggest watching and spending time with them to get ideas that are used in context.

Finally, while you are on your discovery journey, don't forget to give your Father a call and ask His advice. Praying and read God's word to hear what he has to say. He is our best guide down the treacherous roads through parenthood.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

God Bless


1 comment:

  1. Wise words, especially in regards to finding a mentor to help you with the many twists and turns of childhood.

    I like your point about the difference between disciplining in anger vs rage. That's great information especially for first time parents.

    I, too, have noticed parents who are not disciplining their children. I also hear from parents that they don't want the kids to "lack" anything as they did growing up, and they don't want to make the kids help around the house because the kids are busy and it's too difficult to teach them how to do it correctly.

    Unfortunately, the kids grow up feeling entitled, the parents feeling disrespected. It is a very sad state of affairs.