Kids need love and it’s often shown in the most unloving ways. It is critical for parents to discipline their children to set the foundation for good behavior.
Disciplining a child is one of the most important aspects of being a parent. It is disappointing, discouraging and tiring. But it is needed to prevent future behavioral problems, so it should be done early and often. It teaches children about choices, consequences, expectations, guidelines and principles. The goal is to encourage children to make positive choices and avoid negative conduct that puts them in bad situations.
Children Need Discipline
Children need discipline for their own joy and well-being. Without it, they lack the guidance needed to interact with others. Children with no discipline lack self-control and don’t know how to treat others with respect. Have you ever been around kids whose parents do not believe in discipline? They are unpleasant to be around, socially awkward and have a tough time making and keeping friends.
Disciplining Kids is Hard
Disciplining children is not easy. It requires a lot of planning, self-discipline, consistency and a bit of toughness. You get overwhelmed with life and you are often tired from work. So you become consistently lax on the rules. The kids see their parents ‘bark is bigger than their bite’ and they begin to test the limits. The lack of planning, consistency and proper guidance become very unsettling for kids.
Fear of Conflict
Some parents hate drama and avoid conflict at all costs. If the child is angry with you, you believe they don’t love you. You feel your parents disciplined you way too harsh so you won’t do it with your children. Your kids never learn the principles of choices and consequences. They never learn about respecting authority and resolving conflict since you were not tough enough with them.
The Appropriate Discipline
The right discipline teaches kids how to make good choices. Kids need leadership and direction to understand other ways to get their needs met. As a parent the objective is to set consequences for breaking rules in order to teach children how to self-discipline. When kids are disciplined with the right way, they have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. And we can’t confuse discipline with punishment. Discipline is to teach and punish is to inflict suffering for the past behavior. Discipline for the win.
“Oh my Lord, discipline for the win, I just go for it
It’s a trend for these men to die on their own sword”
— Nas – Adam and Eve (feat. the Dream)
Many of the kids in my community got beatings when I was growing up. You do something bad and the belt would be waiting for you when you got home if your parents didn’t come up to the school. I was raised by my grandmother and although I didn’t get as many beatings, I got disciplined a lot. I was raised in a big family so if I did something wrong, I would get yelled at by everyone in the house. And that would lead to detailed conversations about life with my grandmother.
She drilled in my head to always treat others right and stressed what happens to kids who break the rules. To this day, I live and die by the values she instilled in me. I wasn’t happy at the time, but my life has benefited from those tough talks. My grandmother always lead the discussions with love and was always teaching.
How I Discipline My Kids
I currently have a 7 year old boy and 4 1/2, soon to be 5 year old girl. Both have been in Montessori school since they could start. They are active, independent and want to do everything on their own, how they want to do it. If you are a Montessori parent, you understand this can be a challenge especially if you were not raised that way. But I lead my parenting style with love and follow it up with discipline.
Whenever I interact with them, it comes from love. If I praise them, I do it because I love them and I’m happy they did something right. If I get mad and discipline them, I do it because I love them as well. But my aim is to show them my disappointment so they can avoid the bad behavior in the future. I am honest with them and share my flaws so they understand I make mistakes just like they do. The goal is for them to learn and grow from the mistakes.
Ways to Discipline
Here are my 5 rules for disciplining kids:
–Stay Silent: Ignore them for a few and see how they react. We’re so accustomed to yelling and screaming, sometimes staying quiet is more hurtful than words and it gives them time to think.
–Spank the Child: Use it sparingly and try to avoid doing it in anger. “Spare the rod, spoil the child” is one of the best quotes ever. It should not be used a replacement for having a plan and being consistent implementing the plan. Smacked children are happier later in life.
–Let them Wait: Have kids sit in their room and wait is sometimes worse than the actual discipline.
–Build a Close Relationship with Them: You don’t have to be their friend, but they should feel comfortable talking to you about anything. If you build that level of trust, they will always respect your disappointment in them when they do something wrong. They will always think twice before letting you down.
–Set Clear Limits and Consequences: Write out the rules and put them up in the house. Go over them daily and enforce them if the rules are broken.
The key to having success at disciplining children is understanding and accepting our individual flaws as parents. We must keep our cool in situations where we can’t believe what our child just did. Because guess what, we did the same things growing up. Kids need time to learn and guidance to figure things out. And we have to be smart enough to understand that they will make mistakes and love them during the good and bad moments.