Just wait until your father gets home. Don’t make me pull this car over. Believe me, this hurts me much worse than it hurts you. Those things I swore I would never say as a parent . . . until I had kids!
I certainly do not claim to have it all together, nor do I think I have made all the right choices when it comes to disciplining my children. Through the failures and successes, and a few tears shed by everyone, I have learned a little bit along the way, and am still learning as my kids are reaching their teen years.
Discipline is important. Someone once told me you want to make sure your child is someone who others want to be around. This is a great reminder when discipline may be difficult. However, I can attest that when you are diligent at it in the younger years, the the later years are easier.
Discipline is hard. My parents really were right when they told me it hurt them just as much as it hurt me! Not only is it heartbreaking at times, but it also frequently calls us to put our own plans on hold. For example, it isn’t easy (or convenient) to stop what you are doing to take the time to discipline, correct, or redirect when your child is doing something he or she shouldn’t. This leads me to my next lesson.
Discipline happens within a relationship. We discipline those we love because we want what’s best for them. As my children have gotten older and become more able for reason and conversation, I have tried to make sure that discipline is accompanied by a conversation. Sometimes, that conversation has to happen after tempers are given time to quiet down or after a little separation happens. Now, this doesn’t mean that I have to always explain the whys before I expect them to obey. It is important that our children understand that obedience is immediate. This is something that is easier for them when we aren’t disciplining out of anger and they can trust that we really want what is best for them. When we take the time to talk about the whys (after the obedience), we are helping them see that we love them and want the very best for them. This helps to build a relationship of love and trust amidst discipline.
Discipline pays in the long run. The more consistent you are now, the less you have to discipline later. I can only speak for myself and what I have found to be true in our family, but, with that in mind, I will say all those tears shed in disciplining my toddlers and young children has shown tremendous benefit as my children have grown up. There are definitely still times when correction is in order, and the punishments have changed, but they don’t seem to be as frequent. Punishments that used to be time outs or an occasional spanking have turned into taking a phone away or suspending a privilege that they value.
I’m still learning and growing every day, and this teenage thing sure is new to me as a parent. But, I’m thankful that I have been entrusted with my three, and I will continue to make decisions for them based on what’s best for them, even if it means I may not be the most popular in their book. As for now, they trust me and know I love them and am trying to do what’s best for them. I can only pray that our relationship will continue in that same direction and that they turn out to be all they were created to be.