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Discipline Equates Love
June 8, 2017


Discipline Equates Love

Do you know how to discipline effectively? Do you know that effective discipline can be the difference between your daughter or son having a good, productive, successful life…or the opposite? Do you know that your children need not only discipline but actually want rules and regulations that apply to everyone, including themselves?

As I wrote in my last blog post, we as moms or dads must establish a context of love in our families in order for discipline to be effective. If our children don‘t understand that we love them, that we are for them, that we ‘have their backs’ (as we say in the USA) then it will be very difficult to discipline effectively. So that is the first thing we must do as parents: establish an environment and a context of love. As the Bible tells us “Love never fails.” That is from 1 Corinthians chapter 13, which may be the most famous chapter on love ever written. I encourage you to check it out for it is a wonderful training text for us parents. That is the kind of love that our Heavenly Father shows to us…and the kind of love He wants us to show to our children.

But we all know that our children also need discipline from time to time. I like the 10:1 Rule. Ten parts love and respect and kindness and affection for every one part discipline. But there is no doubt that we must discipline. How can we do that effectively, especially if we are busy dads who don’t have a lot of time? I think there are three basic rules for effective discipline:

  1. Control your anger. This is hard for all of us (very much including me). If this is the 26th time you told your son to do his homework this month…you might understandably lose your patience. But we must set a good example for our children. Losing our tempers almost never helps in any way…and it can make things much worse. Trust me, don’t do it.
  2. Explain why it was wrong and why you are imposing a penalty for that behavior. Adults (most of us anyway) know that actions have consequences. Most children do not. One of the most important things we can help our children grasp is that their actions have consequences. Consistent rules (very important) help our children understand the difference between bad behavior and good behavior. Bad behavior has negative consequences (timeouts, no supper, no videogames, etc). Make sure the consequences are a good fit for the behavior. Good behavior has positive consequences (maybe dinner out or a special family movie or more video game time). Trust me, kids are not dumb. If you set the rules fairly and consistently apply them they will earn very quickly.
  3. Show your children that theyshould ask for forgiveness. And when they do so sincerely…be sure they know that you truly forgive them. No one likes to be estranged from his/her family…especially children. So be sure they know that they can be forgiven and reconciled to a place of love in the family. This is important so there are no lingering angers or resentments. We must ‘forgive and forget’ just as our Heavenly Father forgives us and forgets our sin. His heavenly love as we see in Jesus life and ministry is a great example for us as earthly fathers.