When your little bundle of joy is first placed carefully into your arms it’s hard to imagine him speaking back to you disrespectfully, rolling her eyes behind your back, or sneaking out of your house to meet friends you disapprove of, but somewhere between that sperm meeting your egg and your child moving out of your house something amazing happens.
He develops his own personality!
That means he will laugh at things you don’t find funny. She will wear clothes you don’t find attractive. He will test your limits, and she will criticize your ability to parent.
Each stage of a child’s life comes with its own challenges and rewards. Handling one stage “right” helps make subsequent stages easier, but that doesn’t mean there is one right way to handle every child or every situation. It doesn’t mean what works for my family is going to work for your family, and it doesn’t mean if you ace one stage you guarantee smooth sailing in the next any more than completely blowing one stage means you throw your hands up in despair and give up all hope for the future.
Disciplining your child begins today!
No matter how old your child is or how things have gone in the past, discipline starts with a decision to discipline. Rules for younger children may involve homework and bedtime and respect while rules for older children may involve quiet hours, household chores, and respect. Whether your child is two or twelve or twenty and still living under your roof, clear boundaries can be established to make things easier for all.
Questions to Define Child Discipline
- Why are you disciplining? Define the purpose of discipline by defining your end goal. When you define the end goal as creating faith-filled children, good citizens, and productive members of society longterm, you tend to have different discipline strategies than if you define your end goal as to simply make “this moment” go away as quickly as possible.
- What are your absolutes? List behaviors you absolutely cannot tolerate. Next to each behavior write a sentence explaining why this behavior is so abhorrent to you. Keep your list short.
- Who else needs to be involved? Parents often feel alone when they need the most help, but we are seldom islands. List who should be involved in disciplining your child. Consider the other parent, school or daycare personnel, and grandparents or relatives. If the child is older, involving your child his own discipline before a problem arises is often invaluable.
- What do you expect from others? Decide before approaching others what their roles will be and let that be known to them from the start. If your goal is to seek input or advice, your approach should be different from your approach if you are simply delivering a this-is-how-things-are-going-to-be-in-my-house-from-now-on goal. Others may test your discipline ideas before you give your technique a trial. Be clear. Be fair. Be firm. Be ready.
- How will you measure your success? Pretend you are an outsider looking in. You know disciplining a child requires clarity on rules, consistency in following through of consequences, and total forgiveness and reconciliation after punishments are completed. List and post what makes discipline successful. Rate yourself after each occurrence. Look for improvement rather than perfection.
- Who will hold you accountable? Whether you are Married or single, good support in difficult parenting moments is helpful! There will be moments when you are tired, doubt yourself, or want to give in. Having those lists of why you’re disciplining, what your absolutes are, and knowing you have support from someone who will encourage you to keep going makes all the difference!
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to become discouraged or to wonder if you’re getting through to your children at all. It is important to remember that the struggles we have day to day and sometimes even year to year are but a drop in an ocean of time. These moments which we find so difficult are small compared to the years of your child’s life.
Confident, consistent discipline is needed to promote serenity in your house and sanity in your head, but discipline cannot begin when there is a problem. Discipline begins by building a relationship before there is a conflict. It begins by making eye contact and spending quality and quantity time together. Discipline works best when it is built on a foundation of Love and respect, laughter and joy.
If you want help building that loving, fun relationship and developing a discipline program that works for your family, I would love to coach you! Subscribe to my newsletter for tips and short videos or send me an email today! I look forward to hearing from you!
*If you wrote to me in the last week or so, please forgive my delayed response. My Grandfather passed away last week unexpectedly, and it has throw my off a bit. I’ll bounce back, but prayers for Grandpa and my family during this difficult time are appreciated! Thanks so much! <3 <3 <3