By Joey and Carla Link
October 19, 2022
It is obvious your 7 yr. old child needs something more than you have been giving him to get him to stop hitting his siblings when he doesn’t get his own way. Both you and your spouse have talked to him many times. You have threatened him, bribed him, and caught yourself this morning telling your 3 yr. old daughter the red welt on her arm where he hit her “didn’t look too bad”.
It is time for discipline. One of the biggest problems with disciplining kids, even those who clearly need it, is you don’t know what discipline to give and even though your son had no problem hurting his siblings, you don’t want to give him pain. Disciplining your kids however, is a necessary part of parenting.
Pain is the one thing we all respond to. What gets you to go see the doctor? Pain does. What gets you to drive a bit closer to the speed limit? That ticket you just got that cost a couple hundred dollars does. The #1 reason the discipline you are giving your child isn’t working is because it isn’t painful enough.
What then is the meaning of “discipline”? It is to “penalize for the sake of enforcing obedience and perfecting moral character.” “Perfecting moral character” means to teach them to be kind, patient, use self-control and so on. What discipline is NOT is punishment. To punish someone is to bring vengeance on them for something they did to inconvenience you. They are not at all the same thing. To discipline is to correct behavior, not to cause pain for the sake of pain itself.
To discipline is to teach. Ask any drill sergeant in the military. While they put the new recruits through grueling workouts every day, they will tell you it isn’t just about the physical. They are teaching them how to strength their minds and spirits as well as their bodies. It is obedience training at its finest. No matter what, you do what your leader tells you to. Period. They are teaching the recruits how to push their bodies to do more when they want to give up and how to have the self-control to do what they are told to do no matter the circumstances.
They know what to teach them from the experience of thousands and tens of thousands who have gone before them. Discipline gives rules to live efficiently and effectively. Teachers know they are authority figures and aren’t afraid to use it when necessary. Today, our leaders look upon the experience of the tens of thousands who have gone before them with disdain. We need to look for the good in what they have done, especially those who have learned to parent effectively. Effective parents understand that parenting includes wise teaching, and use of authority followed up with praise or correction.
Do you have a plan to teach your kids obedience and the moral character training you are to be perfecting in them? Without a plan you are swiping at symptoms, giving temporary fixes at best.
Where should you begin? Always start with obedience. Ask yourself:
Do your kids come when you call their name immediately, completely, without challenge and without complaining? Give each child over 3 yrs. a grade in each of the above 4 areas. If they don’t, get an “A” or “B”, it is time to get back to the basics of obedience training.
“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.”