It’s such a struggle to discipline our kids. I think it’s a struggle because it doesn’t feel good and it’s not fun. We had children to love them and nurture them and see them grow, so to talk about what they did wrong, or trying to train them not to do things that are wrong… let’s just say it’s difficult and uncomfortable. It doesn’t give us that loving feeling that we wanted with our kids but we know it’s necessary.
It helps me to think of discipline like this: it is simply training your child in right behavior, a turning in the right direction. So how do you discipline a child? Mark and I talked about it in a recent podcast and came up with three things we need to do to discipline well.
If you and your husband are unified, your child will get a better sense of understanding what you believe is right. If you and your husband can’t agree and argue about it in front of your child, your child won’t be clear on what you believe or your expectations for him.
So seek unity with your husband, but not necessarily the general public, because there are all kinds of ideas that may not be right for your child. If you and your child’s father aren’t together, it can be really hard. I hear this from a lot of moms when there are different rules in each home. Do whatever you can to be unified in your plan as parents. The good of your child needs to be the focus.
My kids knew that I would follow through on what I said about discipline because I’ve followed through before. But I will say this, I felt tremendous pressure at times to override my consistent behavior. This happened when there was something my kids had really been looking forward to or something I really wanted to let them do but I’d taken away the privilege to discipline them. I would think, “Oh! They’ll be so crushed if they don’t get to go! How will I explain this?”
But you can’t be weak about it. You have to do what’s right for the child for their training in the long run.
Be firm, not harsh.
We don’t have to use angry words or yelling to discipline our kids. When we yell at our kids they’ll either shut down or engage with their own anger. Neither of those is a good option.
So look your child in the eye and say what you have to say in a calm voice. If they start arguing or acting disrespectful, tell them that the conversation is over. If they want to discuss it they can, but respectfully.
After you’ve gotten these three discipline principles down, take a look at iMOM’s 3 Rs of Discipline. This will walk you through what you need to do during the process. Need some ideas for consequences of bad behavior? We have 21.
Hang in there! Discipline is hard, but it’s so worth it for our children’s future.
Listen to more discussion about discipline in the full podcast below.