September 9th, 2009 22:00 EST
Disciplining Is a Risky Task
Disciplining is a risky task. Yet, parents end up punishing the child, when they do not discipline. Doctor James Dobson, in his book, Dare to Discipline, reasons that punishment is what we do to a child; but discipline is what we do for a child. Disciplining may involve physical correction, but it is the loving purpose, and not the anger, which separates it from punishment. Children who have been lovingly disciplined, rather than arbitrarily punished, rarely look back in anger to the times they received physical correction from loving parents. They get the message that limits have to be set, and they do not flinch from disciplining their own children, when it is their turn.
"-----for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?" Heb: 12:7
When disciplining children, parents should heed a few caution points.
1) Set fair norms.
2) Discipline immediately after those norms have been breached.
3) Playing favourites is out; disciplining will apply to all normal children.
4) Empty threats don`t work.
5) Preferably, discipline the child from his perspective - looking at the situation from his window.
6) After disciplining him, explain to to the child why it had to be done; and cuddle him.
7) Stick to the term disciplining, not punishing.
Disciplining need not always mean physical correction, depriving the child of TV time, access to toys or
holding back his favourite foods. It can be constructive, like:
1) Based on his age, get the child to read certain passages and summarize them at suppertime.
2) Get him to write a few lines on why he thinks he was disciplined.
3) Make him find the meanings of a set of words; not necessarily from the dictionary.
4) Let him run short errands, which he avoids.
5) Assign him chores at home, which someone else does; and so on.
Constructive disciplining has its merits, one of which is obedience born of respect, not terror.
Some children rebel against disciplining because of their insecurity. Deep down, they are uncertain of parental love. That is why a child must grow up completely secure in the feeling that he is loved for what he is, and not for what he can be.
Parents can learn from the wisdom of an experienced mother, who says: "Imagine the child to be kite. Let him fly, but always hold on to the string".
Let me sum up the five articles on training children. Every child is unique and every situation different.
Although the Training Module DIE (Discipline, Instruction, Example), is the same, the methods employed to translate training inputs into lessons for the child, will be different. Instilling BASIC VALUES and building character are exacting tasks, which will not brook anything but excellence and unwavering commitment from parents.
It is not prudent to grant children concessions because parents consider them to be small, and hope that they will grow out of some habits, with age. Concessions will only confirm them in their compromised ways. The words of Alexander Pope should serve as a warning: "Just as the twig is bent, the tree is so inclined".
I would like to close the five articles on Training Children with a quote from Mark Twain, which should
put hope back into the hearts of parents who are tiring in their efforts; who are on the point of giving up.
"There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift man to angelship". If man can be lifted to angelship, why not a child?
NOTE: The five short articles I have contributed, read more like an Introduction. Those of my readers who are interested in the subject, and an expanded treatment of the topics, may visit my blog. titled,
The Child is Father of the Man. The link to the blog is: http://thechildisfatheroftheman.blogspot.com/