Discipline is a natural part of parenting. It helps the child learn that there are consequences to their actions. This lesson is probably one of the most critical aspects of raising a child. Understanding that there are limits to what we can – and can’t do – are lessons the child will take with them for the rest of their lives. Consequences are meant to protect your child from themselves. It demonstrates love, attention, and care. Therefore, all discipline should be handled as acts of love. They are for the betterment of the child. It will help shape their future, their moral standing, their decisions, and future conduct.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. This is a biblical saying that many people take out of context. No matter your religious beliefs, if any, this statement holds great value when it comes to discipline. Many believe this statement to justify revenge when it, in fact, does not. It simply means that the punishment should never outweigh the crime. This statement means harmony and balance.
Anger should never be a motivator for discipline. Love should be the only motivator. Therefore, never hand down a punishment when you are angry. If the child is committing an act that must be stopped immediately – by all means, stop it. However, the punishment for the inappropriate act should only come after you have calmed down, reviewed the action, and have decided on a punishment that fits the offense. Remember, the punishment should never outweigh the crime.
Punishments should be firm, predefined, and fair. Try spending time coming up with a chart with offenses on one side, and an appropriate punishment on the other. This chart may be long, so consider using construction paper. But keep it simple. Make it clear. Leave no room for interpretation. By doing this, you now have a tool that has predefined the appropriate reaction to every action. Review this chart with your child, have them sign it or agree to it, and keep it somewhere in plain view. If an offense occurs and you hand down the appropriate countermeasure, if your child has a question or doubt about your conduct – simply refer them back to the chart that they signed or agreed to.
If your child is young, then the chart will be more for your own good. Although, your child will grow up knowing the rules of the chart. This method is greatly valuable – especially to couples. It leaves no room for interpretation, so there is no disagreement when it comes to disciplinary actions. Create the chart with your spouse – that way you both hand down the same action, regardless of which of you is present when the offense occurs.
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