What Is Discipline?

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We know what it is not, but do we know what it is?

It is not a group of kids charging the stage while the puppets are up there with no regard to what the leaders are saying;  nor is it climbing onto the tables and walking the tops of them before jumping off to send chairs flying in all directions. 

Then is it the toddler who screams and falls in the floor when he decides he has heard enough of your coaxing him into doing what you want him to do?  Maybe it is in the toddler who disrupts everything around him because he has learned how to get his way.  These may sound like the extreme, but we are seeing more and more of this all the time.

We live in an undisciplined world today. 

Give me this, give me that, I want it now, no matter what I have to do to get it!  

This attitude has penetrated our adults, even our government.  So what can we do to stop it?  How can we have children that are disciplined?  I'm not sure we can change the government today, but we can change future generations.

Start today in your own home.  

If you are mothers that still have children at home, start now. Today.  No matter how old or how young your children are.  If you are a grandmother who has raised her children, but have the privilege of having your grandchildren in your home from time to time, start today.  Do not let those little angels destroy your home and your mind!  Children want and need discipline.

By now you may be asking the question, "How do I begin disciplining my children?" 

Let's first look at what the word discipline means. One definition I found said it is "helping your child develop inner controls that last a lifetime". The word discipline comes from the same root as disciple. Discipulus in latin means "pupil", and it comes from discere, which means "to learn".  Discipline is actually a combination of reward and punishment methods. A child, if disciplined at an early age, grows up to become a responsible, well-bred individual.  As a verb, to discipline means "train and guide."  As a noun, the meaning of the word discipline is pretty much the same as that of the verb: a set of rules and guidelines (code of conduct) to be followed.

That being said, there are a lot of differences in opinions on exactly how and when to discipline your child.  Some believe in time out while others prefer spanking.  Whichever method you choose must be preceded with disciplining yourself.  That's right!  You must first start with yourself because you must be consistent with the method you choose.  That is the most challenging part of parenting and grand-parenting. 

Be consistent! 

In order for the child to learn that she is not to leave her mess on the bathroom floor then she must know that every time she does, she will receive the exact same consequence from you.  It does not take long for her to learn if you are consistent.  If sometimes you ignore the mess and clean it yourself or sometimes you yell at her or put her in time out, she will learn to see how many times you will ignore it!  I'm not saying that a child will never test the boundaries that you've set, I'm saying that the most important thing you can do in disciplining your children is to be consistent in the consequences for going past the boundaries.

Make the punishment fit the crime. 

Every disobedience or undisciplined action does not require the same consequence.  There are many things to consider such as your child's learning styles and disposition.  While spanking one child works well, grounding the other or taking away privileges from another may work better.  Also forgetting to take out the trash is a different undisciplined action than lying about who they have been texting or where they were.  Therefore, consider the forms of discipline for each child and misbehavior.

Don't forget your goal.  

If you do not know for sure what your goals are in raising your children, sit down with your husband and talk it out.  Then go to God and let Him guide you in this process.  He can help you more than anything.  Just don't delay.  The longer you wait, the harder it will become. 

I'd like to leave you with some resources that have helped us along the way.

Blessings as you learn what it really means to discipline,

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