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Let’s talk discipline!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 1:7

    If wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord, how do our children get a taste of that before they understand who God is?  The simple answer is fear of the discipline of their parents.  Wouldn’t we all just run around doing what we wished if there wasn’t a fear attached to bad behavior?  The Bible states that fools despise wisdom and discipline and we certainly don’t want our children to become fools!  We are all familiar with foolish behavior.  It isn’t pretty.  I can promise you one thing for sure, if we don’t discipline our children, their Creator will, with universal laws that He has established.  Our children are His children first. 

The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

Proverbs 10:27

    The world can be an ugly place with a lot of pitfalls.  We must equip our children with the strength of character to withstand the hard stuff.  This starts with discipline from parents which turns into self-discipline.  

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

    How do we start out on the wrong foot?  First of all, this new bundle of joy comes into our lives and we love them more than we could have ever imagined.  A baby is a true miracle and gift from God.  This precious being depends on us for everything.  He demands food, love, comfort, changing, smiles, touching, tenderness and our sleep.  We are willing to give all these things and more to stop the cries and make our babies happy campers.  When our baby cries it signals a need.  We will do anything in our power to uncover that need and fill it.  This is what we’re supposed to do.  This is what starts and nurtures the bond between parent and infant.  This is the basis for the trust between the two of you.

    So let’s think about this.  Put yourself in your baby’s booties.  If someone was fulfilling my every need in the instant that I demand, would this make me a little self-centered?  Would it make me a little selfish?  I would sure think so.  It is human nature and babies are humans.  It is up to us as parents to now balance out this demand and supply cycle.  “Balancing out”, means choosing the right time and demonstrating to our children that they are not the center of the universe.  The key here is “the right time”.  Too early and the bond of trust is broken or never established. Too late and watch out!  The “terrible twos” hit us like turbulence on a six-passenger plane. We think toddler crying is the same as baby crying and we’re still jumping through hoops to make sure our children are happy at all costs.  Disappointment is a part of every life- we discussed that.  Things just don’t always work out the way we think they should.  In an effort to have happy children all the time, we pretend that this is not true.  We do not allow the seeds of resilience to grow and blossom in our children.  Resilience–the ability to bounce back, to have strength to move on and the courage to pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off –contentment is the key to authentic happiness.  Helping your child attain true lifelong happiness often requires you to deny his short-term satisfaction.  Sometimes we don’t get the cookie we want and that is the way the cookie crumbles.  

    No one’s child is going to be the perfect little listener and cooperative soul when she is told that she can’t have what she wants when she wants it.  One of the keys to discipline is knowing how to handle disappointment.  Children are self-centered; they are unable to look outside themselves.  It is through the daily grind of waiting your turn, sharing, being nice and using our manners that they begin the seeds of compassion, patience and empathy.

    Discipline and knowledge go hand in hand.  The key to unlocking fundamentals of learning is to first figure out how an individual child learns.  Children learn in four ways: visual, auditory, kinesthetic/tactile (through touch) and multi-sensory (all three).  A child will learn best through her built-in way of learning.  I believe that discipline works in the same way.  Every child is different and it is not a one size fits all.  The ideas are the same but how we carry them out is different according to a child’s disposition.  

Some children listen to a simple command or the word “no” because they are pleasers.  If a child has a stronger will then the average child, he will not sit in a time-out, let alone respond to a look that says, “That is enough”.  In this case, kinesthetic/tactile (physical) punishment may be necessary, with SPECIFIC ground rules that I will get into. However, if, as a parent, you deal with anger issues or tend to lose control, I recommend that you stick with time outs. This process may take longer for you but in the long run it will be safer. 

The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.

Proverbs 30:17

    How do we keep our children’s “eyes” from being pecked out?  How do we prevent the train wreck before it happens?  We are going to go through specific ways to deal with specific problems.  Our grandparents had the right idea but I’m going to adapt the traditional way with our new understanding of discipline.   

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

Proverbs 23:12