5 inspiring tips to discipline your children

How can your children know that you really love them?  One of the ways is to discipline them in love as you raise them.  Parents show their love for their children by guiding them through the ups and downs of life.

Do not handicap your children’s lives by making it too easy for them during their formative years.  You are not doing them any favours.  The impact of your parenting is two-fold.  You have to exert external influences over your children’s lives when they are young so so that they can internalize the values when they hit their middle teen years.  You help them change and grow through education, training and coaching.  Secondly, you learn to celebrate who they are and what makes them unique.  This will inspire them to reach their dreams.  It’s both of these aspects:  the loving change and discipline coupled with the release and empowerment.  Through love and kindness you are able to do both.

There are various aspects that affect the what and how of disciplining your children.  There certainly isn’t one way of disciplining your child – each and every child and family is different.

5 aspects of discipline

Discipline expresses love

If you love your children, you will care to discipline them appropriately and well.  Remember, one of your goals is to protect and grow your relationship with your child all through their youth.  When you discipline your children in love, you help guide them into being the

person they were made to be.  Discipline and discipleship go hand in hand.

All behaviour reflects the condition of our heart

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us to:  “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”  The direction your heart is tuned to is the direction you will go.  Teach them that their behaviour reflects the true condition of their heart.  For example, when a child chooses the biggest piece of cake for themselves, they are actually saying that they are more important than the other person.  It generally doesn’t come naturally to prefer one another.  This is something for training.  It’s also important to differentiate between childlike behaviour and foolish/rebellious behaviour.  Childlike behaviour is spilling your milk because you just weren’t careful or stumbled – kids mess (a lot).  We need to be okay with that.  When we discipline children out of our frustration or unrealistic expectations, then we need to re-assess as this can hurt a child’s heart.
Rebellious behaviour is when you instruct your child to sit at the table and drink his milk and he chooses to disobey you by walking around the house and then spilling its contents.  There is a difference.  We do not discipline childlike behaviour but rather when they choose to disobey your instructions . 

We discipline our children with corrective actions and wise words 

In an excerpt from my book, Parenting with Courage, I write the following:  “The word, ‘discipline’ refers to actions, while the words ‘corrects’ refers to words of rebuke.  As parents, that’s exactly how we are to discipline.  We bring both words and actions with warnings and consequences in our children’s lives to keep them on course.”  Words have the power to release and bring joy or to bring harm.  Choose your words wisely and carefully.

Parents need to be consistent

Consistency brings stability and freedom in your children’s lives.  Let them grow up knowing that your, yes, is your yes and that your, no, is your no.  They don’t need to guess or feel insecure wondering how you will act based on your mood on any given day.  The rules in your home shouldn’t be more strict because you’re tired or frustrated.  Conversely, they shouldn’t be more lenient because you are having a great day.

Discipline is not punishment

This is a key point – discipline is not punishment  but rather a training for correction and maturity.  We discipline our children with a heart of compassion and understanding. Punishment implies that our kids are getting what they deserve.  It is past tense focused while discipline is future-focused and points toward redemption.  It maintains relationship and it builds on love.

These 5 aspects are like building blocks for healthy families.  May they encourage you and strengthen the love and relationships in your home.

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