How to parent a life of discipline?

Except for when the grandchildren are in my care, my days of handing out discipline are past.

It’s pretty much turned out like it did with my own parents. I’m a big softy when it comes to giving discipline to the grand kids.

What kind of parent are {or were} you?

When my children were growing up I expected a lot from them. Sometimes, I think I expected too much or was too hard of a disciplinarian. Then, I see the kind of adults they’ve become and I think maybe I did okay.

Don’t fail to discipline your children…physical discipline may well save them from death. Proverbs 23.13-14 NLT

Now, I realize you may take fault at the hint of physical discipline in that statement. Please notice those are not my words, but straight from God’s Word. That said, let me be clear.

  1. Under no circumstance do I condone discipline that is abusive.
  2. Reserve physical discipline for when other methods have proven unproductive.

A lack of discipline.

Have you noticed discipline seems out of style? We live in a society of people who want what they want…when they want it…how they want it.

Increasingly, the world around us is devoid of respect, patience, and dependability. It’s evident in the way we treat one another and do our jobs…and it shows in how we are training the next generation.

Parent a life of discipline, now.

If you’re raising children, they require discipline. The truth is our need for discipline never goes away, so help them begin to learn it now.

And while it may seem complicated or exhausting, having a few ground rules in place will help everyone in the household enjoy a more peaceful existence.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrew 12.11 NLT

Tips for a disciplined household.

#1. Recognize children need boundaries.

It is not in our nature to appreciate boundaries {or discipline}. Parents sometimes fail to realize that boundaries are exactly what children need.

As adults, we usually reach a point of recognizing our own need for boundaries. We realize we can no longer exist on the late-night schedule of our college days, or our work and responsibilities will suffer for it.

Children do not have the maturity to set their own boundaries. That’s the job of the adults in their lives.

#2. Communicate what you expect.

Our youngest grandson is eighteen months old. His current, greatest delight is to throw his pacifier into every container he finds. And I do mean everything, including the dog’s water dish and any toilet left uncovered. We always say, “No, no!” And he always tries again, tomorrow!

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to let them know what we expect. And, when they are older than eighteen months, tell them what the punishment is if they disobey.

#3. Establish levels of discipline {and punishment}.

Children need discipline. They need boundaries. Find tips for a disciplined, more peaceful household. A household of faith...Take time to decide how you want to discipline your children. Do all you can to come into agreement on this with your spouse and/or other adults caring for your children.

Warnings and time-outs are good first-levels of discipline. How many warnings will you give? How long should time-outs last? What form of discipline comes next? Will you use grounding as the kids get older?

I don’t mind sharing that we had a paddle in the house when our children were growing up. I can also tell you we rarely used it. Our son and daughter might say differently, but the truth is they knew it was there and they knew we meant it when we said, “Do what we told you to do OR you will get the paddle!”

#4. Be consistent and know your child.

As much as you can, discipline your children with consistency. There’ll be times when you want to let it go. It’s okay to let things slide occasionally, but consistency will pay off in the end.

Remember, each child will respond differently to discipline. In the middle school years, if we had told our son, “Your punishment is you cannot go to the movies with your friends,” he wouldn’t have cared less. He was a classic introvert who would’ve rather stayed home, anyway.

Our daughter, on the other hand, responded well to privileges being taken away as punishment. She was very social and keeping her from a Friday night with her friends was, in her mind, the most severe punishment Mom and Dad could dole out.

#5. Discipline in love.

In being disciplined, we don’t always feel the love. If I could go back and change anything about how I raised {disciplined} my kids, it would be this.

I’d have taken more time to sit them down and explain things. I’d have tried harder to begin by putting my arm around them and asking, “Have you had a bad day? Is this why you’re acting up?”

It’s important to discipline in love. And it’s vital to build your family based on God’s love and a life of faith.

The Christian life is a life of discipline – and love.

Parent from this position and watch your household become more peaceful…a peaceful harvest of right living.

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