Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire. Saying no to our impulses puts us in control of our cravings rather than vice versa. It deposes our lust and permits truth, virtue, and integrity to rule our minds instead. To help parents understand why some of their disciplinary strategies do not work, I’ll simply say If I’m to set myself up as my child’s teacher, I must first have learned how to be self-disciplined. I must have addressed, and continue to address, my own emotional immaturity (check out my post on emotional stability; BLINDED 1&2). I do this by becoming a person deviant of ‘self’ all the time.
Discipline and punishment are often confused because they often work hand in hand. Punishment is an in-the-moment reaction to misbehavior. Every single issue does not need punishment to be set right instead discipline is learned over time in consistency. For instance, you can discipline your child to stop hitting people by rendering a punishment when it happens and not everytime. You don’t want to be very predictable in your dealings or your judgements will not be respected by your kids. Discipline should be a consistent method of getting your child to behave, so it’s more important than punishment alone. Make sure that the punishment fits the crime, and that you’re levying discipline when it really matters. Punishing/spanking a child everytime diminishes the capacity for discipline when it really counts.
Have you ever wondered why a sharp word stops one child in his tracks and leaves another completely unfazed ?
That’s because every kid is different and what works for one doesn’t work for the other. It’s your job as a parent to find out what works for your child most. Here are some measures for child discipline :
- Natural and logical consequences : Children between age 9-12 can be disciplined with this measure. As they mature and request more independence and responsibility, teaching them to deal with the consequences of their behavior is an effective and appropriate method of discipline. For example, there is a school assignment your child has known about for 2 weeks. It is the night before it is due and he is in a panic. You warned him a week ago not to wait until the last moment, but it happened anyway. He is now pleading for you to assist him. Let him experience the result of his actions. The anxiety, loss of sleep, and bad grade will teach him to make better decisions next time. When natural consequences are not doing the trick, stepping in to create a consequence of your own can work well.
- Grounding: It is an act whereby children are confined to stay inside; usually effective for children between age 13 and upwards. Teach them that when we cross set boundaries or break laws we lose freedoms. After you’ve laid the groundwork for the kid at a younger age. Your child knows what’s expected and that you mean what you say about the penalties for bad behavior. Don’t let down your guard now — discipline is just as important for teens as it is for younger kids. It may not be easy to tell your daughter pleading with all seriousness that she can’t go to her friend’s birthday party. Be strong and hold the line.
- Muteness : Silence is golden sometimes. Taking away the privilege to talk for a certain amount of time will calm them down and give them time to think about what they did wrong. This doesn’t mean we take the voice of the child away every time. It can take away the child’s self esteem.
- Keep-away: These usually works for babies or toddlers because they are naturally curious. You can keep their favorite toy away till the child learns his/her lesson.
Time-outs: Timeouts can be effective discipline for toddlers and teens(age 6-8). A child who has been hitting, biting, or throwing food, for example, should be told why the behavior is unacceptable and taken to a designated timeout area — a kitchen chair or a couch — for a minute or two to calm down (longer timeouts are not effective for toddlers).
- Correction and empathy: It’s important to tell kids what the right thing to do is, not just to say what the wrong thing is. For example, instead of saying “Don’t jump on the couch,” try “Please sit on the furniture and put your feet on the floor.” It is also effective for toddlers usually between age 3-5. You can’t explain empathy to a toddler but you can begin to get her thinking about other people’s feelings. Kids at this stage won’t understand lectures but if you pose questions to them, you can raise their awareness level. For example, if your child won’t let his brother play with his toy. You can simply say; “How do you think Collins feels when you don’t share your things with him?”. Help them read body language, give the toddlers pointers, “see how Aunt Bola looked when you shared your snacks with her”. “Did you notice that she was smiling? “, ‘you made her feel good.’
- Overhaul: This involves a do over. Everybody deserves a second chance, don’t they? If your child has shown a lack of respect in some way, give them the option of a “do-over.” Send them out of the room, and have them start all over again. It gives them practice in treating others well.
- Grace: There should also be a balance of justice with grace and forgiveness. If you are constantly at odds with your child, they will eventually tune you out. Whether your child spilled water on the floor or damaged an object mistakingly, it may be best to let it pass. Choose wisely the issue to tackle. If the beginning of the process involves breaking down, the end should involve a restoration and comforting. Your love for them should come through clearly.
Withholding a child’s privilege such as education, shelter, clothing is not an act of discipline but an atrocity; depriving them of a meal is a bad idea. Conclusively, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. The word of God is the best corrective measure for discipline. Build your child with words of faith!!!