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How To Discipline Your Child

Parents constantly seek assurance that they are training their children according to the Lord's instructions. Wanting only the best for them, we want these children to grow up to become men and women who are not takers but givers, assets and not liabilities in society. Proper discipline is a means by which individuals are molded to become such. The question is, what is the proper way of disciplining one's child?

Whatever the form of discipline we exercise on our children, it should be a learning experience for them. The word discipline itself came from the Latin word, discere, which means “to learn.” Even the Bible reinforces discipline as a teaching-learning process.

Several Biblical verses emphasize this:

• “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.” (Prov. 19:18);

• “He who spares his rod, hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” (Prov. 13:24);

• “And fathers do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4); and

• “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (Prov 12:1). Discipline, therefore, comes from the Lord.

Likewise, discipline refers to guidance, or the task of helping children learn to behave in acceptable ways. It also refers to everything that adults do and say, either directly or indirectly, to influence a child's behavior.

Here are 10 helpful guidelines to successful discipline:

1) Establish clear limits of behavior. By this we mean that children should be clearly told what consists unacceptable behavior and what consists acceptable behavior. More importantly, be FIRM about it, and set good examples yourself. This way, instead of simply telling them, you show them what to do.

2) Enforce boundaries with consistent discipline. Parents should enforce with consistency discipline previously agreed upon.

3) Administer discipline in private. Discipline should not shame, humiliate nor anger a child. The purpose of discipline is to reinforce the teaching-learning process that develops a sense of right and wrong.

4) Establish responsibility for the wrongdoing. The offender should see clearly why he is being disciplined. He must realize why his conduct was unacceptable.

5) Show grief over the offense. Make the child realize that your heart is hurting when he does something wrong, just like our Heavenly Father is hurting when we become disobedient to Him.

6) Administer discipline firmly and thoroughly. Firmness in administering discipline will help the offender know what is happening. He must clearly see that he is being disciplined at that particular moment.

7) Allow a child to vent his emotions and then talk with him. After the child has released his emotions and calmed down, it is the right time to explain to him why he was disciplined.

8) Once a matter has been dealt with, consider it forgiven. Avoid the tendency of bringing up the matter over and over again.

9) Gear the discipline to the age and offense of your child. Discipline should be in proportion both to the seriousness of the misbehavior and to the age of the child.

10) Balance discipline with personal attention. Often the necessity for discipline indicates that the child needs personal attention. It is best to spend enough time with the child - before the need for discipline comes up. There is definite correlation between unacceptable behavior and the amount of time spent by the parent with a child.

When imposing discipline, we must always remember that it does not only refer to punishment or negative correction. Since discipline is also related to the word “disciple” or a devoted follower, it is effective when imposed as “positive, confident leadership toward adulthood.” Through correction, affectionate teaching and encouragement, parents help kids grow more confident, responsible, considerate, and courageous.

It is also best for adults to open their eyes to a child's good deeds, not only to his misbehavior. Remember that each person is inherently good, because GOD who created us is good. Therefore, praising appropriate behavior encourages a person to keep up his good deeds. It also builds self-esteem. This way, discipline is treated as strength-building - not merely control. Children are treated the way God treats all of us. The laws are laid down with affection and forgiveness. Eventually, the children realize that all their parents' efforts to discipline them were borne out of love and sacrifice.

Is discipline a worthwhile investment? Indeed, it is! Parents have only one chance to bring up their children properly, and this is the first 16 to 18 years of a child's life. It may seem like an eternity especially when we're tired and drawn out, but it will be worth the effort. Besides, time will pass by quickly enough, it is better to make the sacrifices now. Then you can enjoy the company of your grown children and grand children, who will be your source of happiness in your old age.

Or, would you opt to “pay later”?

REFINEMENT

In our words, actions, thoughts - by these shall we be known as followers of God

Early childhood is the best time to teach good manners at home. This is the time when they are great imitators of adults. What parents do, children follow.

ACTION

1. No boisterous behavior

a) Neither kicking, boxing nor roughing. Encourage the children to verbalize instead their feelings.

b) Talking in a calm voice when expressing themselves. When they want something, there is no need for screaming, shouting, whining.

2. Saying words of sensitivity like “Please,” “Thank you,” “I am sorry,” “Forgive me”

3. Appreciating others. “I love you Daddy/ Mommy,” “Thank you, Yaya,” greeting and honoring elders.

4. Dressing appropriately for the occasion.

a. Be decent and simple, not calling attention to oneself

b. Disabuse their minds this early to brand names/signature items

THOUGHTS

1. Taming TV habits

a. Know what they are watching or what the theme is; explain why a certain story or commercial is funny but not right, or why certain behaviors are not right.

b. Set house rules for TV viewing

c. Do not allow them to watch TV alone just to keep them quiet

2. Regular story-telling time/Bible-reading time with one or both parents

WORDS

1. Using uplifting words for others. Avoid name calling, swearing, etc.

2. Greeting people (children, brothers/sisters, classmates, yaya, mama/papa)

Get the habit to say “Good Morning,” “Good Evening,” “Thank You,” etc.

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