At one of the first homes we owned we planted a young weeping willow tree. The tree was planted but the problem was it drooped. It was not yet strong enough to stand on its own so we had to “discipline” it. We staked it on either side and hemmed it in so it could stand the wind and take root. Then we watered it big time and prayed it would grow.
So it is with children. They need to be directed, instructed, trained – disciplined in every area of life and they need to receive that from their parents. The problem arises when we see discipline in the negative light that equates to punishment only.
There are times when a child’s actions will call for corrective measures. These are consequences and children need to learn early that their actions have consequences. This is cause and effect. But corrective measures are only one part of training.
The consequences of your child’s actions can come in two forms. The first is in the form of praise and encouragement. This is a positive reinforcement that will sink correct behaviour deep into a child’s soul. Never loose sight of the accomplishments of your child and never stop telling them how proud you are of them. Like the tree we planted, it will water their roots.
The second form of consequences is corrective. Don’t ever be afraid to say “no” to your child and do something to back your words if need be. There will be times when all you have to say is “no”. However, if behaviour is evident to you that is disturbing, don’t tolerate it. I have a saying, “you deserve what you tolerate!” The problem with tolerating something when they are young instead of correcting it is the seed will only grow producing more of the same.
There may be times when you need to hem your child in for their sake and others. Do not feel you are dampening their spirit. No, you are directing their growth. You need to teach, train and equip them for life. What they do or say will affect their future. Remember even a child is known by its actions. How do you want them to be known?
Discipline is vital in parenting and should not be considered a dirty word. It takes discipline on your part to consistently put into practise the training necessary to equip children that will be leaders in the next generations. Keep up the good work!