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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Disciplining with Love

Disciplining with love sounds good, right? But it's so very hard in the frustration of the moment! How can it be done? Here are a few ideas.

1. Set clear expectations. If you expect your child to obey the first time he's asked, then set a consequence if he doesn't. If your expectation is that he comply by the time you count to three, set your consequence based on that standard. Whatever your expectation, make sure he knows and understands it before an infraction occurs and let him know the consequence. Be consistent in whatever you establish.
2. Make the consequence fit the crime. If Jr.doesn't pick up his toy when you ask, the toy gets put away where he can't play with it. It ties the infraction to the consequence. It tells the child, "You can't play with the toy if you won't put it away." Tell him when he can have it back and stick to it, regardless of whining or complaining. Did he hit his friend? He must apologize and may not continue playing if he won't be kind. Did he talk back to you? A time out may be necessary until he is ready to say he's sorry. Be matter of fact when you explain these things to him. No need for anger. These are simply the rules and you must follow them.
3. Don't raise your voice. Children will listen better and feel more respected (and therefore more likely to respect you back) if you stay calm and have a conversation with them. If they've disobeyed you, sit them down and tell them how you feel. Explain why you need them to do what you asked. Tell him you need his help by obeying. Remind him your family is a team and you all need to work together. He's an important part of the team.
4. Don't shame. When you correct your child, don't shame him. Instead, encourage him. Tell him what he did wrong. Assure him you understand he's still learning and wants to do what's right. Give him the opportunity to make a better choice. Help him figure out what options he could do next time.
5. Always hug your child after disciplining him. This shows him you love him even when he's less than perfect. Remind him we all make mistakes and the main thing is to try not to keep doing the same wrong things over again.Tell hiim there's nothing he could ever do to make you stop loving him. This gives him a firm foundation of love so he doesn't have to act out so often.
6. Apologize. No matter how good your parenting skills, you will always have moments where you "lose it." Give yourself some grace. God does! Remind yourself that you're still a good parent even when you make mistakes. We all do the best we can at that moment in time. Above all, go to your child and tell him you're sorry for getting angry. It models humility and doing what's right even when it's hard. When you apologize, you let your child know it's okay to be less than perfect and lets him be more honest around you.

If your child is simply unmanageable, you may need to get family counseling. There could be deeper issues that require professional help. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to seek it out.

How do you discipline in love? Do you believe in spanking? What alternatives are there to it?



  1. Do I believe in spanking? The Bible believes in spanking. Read proverbs. It is not my first option, but even having lost a grandchild to abuse, I still believe that loving physical discipline in NOT abuse. My parents spanked me, I spanked my children, my children spank their kids. We have (mostly had now that they are teens and spend less time here)a rule at grandma and grandpa's house. You will be told the first time, the second time gets you a time out, the third time earns you a spanking.

    All you have to do is walk down the aisle of a store to see what an undisciplined generation we are raising.My kids never threw a stomp their feet-scream in my face-tantrum in the middle of the candy or cereal aisle.

    They were raised better than that.

  2. I was spanked and I spanked my kids, too, Sharon. But I know some (including my daughter) who do not spank their kids. I've gotta say they are some of the nicest, most well-behaved kids I've ever seen. They're spoken to with respect and they respond respectfully. Maybe it depends on childrens' personalities. Or the parent's. I look forward to hearing more comments on this. Thanks for chiming in!