Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good Discipline: Parenting Like You Mean It

We've all had a child or two push us on our expectations, right? Your son should know that he can't be a jerk in public but he makes a scene in the restaurant nonetheless. Your daughter seems like she knows that she just can't wear anything to school but one morning she throws a tantrum demanding she get to put on her favorite outfit when you object.

So what do you do? How do you handle those sudden push backs on your guidelines and authority without using live ammunition to quell the problem?

I'm pretty confident that you actually set the stage for what you will do before these big-time struggles ever happen. How?

First, you keep your word in the little things. You parent like you mean it. No, you don't have to be a tyrant but you do need to follow through even on the small stuff especially when your kids are little. If your kids know you'll stick to your guns about bed time and you do it every night for the most part, then they'll likely better understand that you're going to follow through in the restaurant or before school during the blow-up.

Second, if you're married you keep your word as a team. Kids need to know that mom or dad are not the easy out to the tough decisions that the other parent makes. If mom says it's bedtime and then dad comes in and changes the rule and allows them to stay up, the children begin to figure out the difference in mom and dad and begin to use it to their advantage. Moms and dads must be on the same page when it comes to how you follow through on your disciplinary commitments.

Third, it never hurts to address some of the more major possibilities ahead of time.  I remember telling our kids that we would have a curfew time for when they went out, one that varied depending upon the event, how far away it was, etc. But we also told them that if they didn't show up very close to on time, that we would either be in the car looking for them or on the phone with the police.  Interestingly, one of our kids went well beyond this rule about two weeks after we had that discussion.

They found out very quickly that we meant what we said when they met me on their way home . . . in my car looking for them.

A big percentage of parent/child discipline problems could be resolved if the parents just parented as though they meant it. And the sooner the better.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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