Disciplining Your Child — A Whole New Perspective

It Can and Should Be Quite Positive

Discipline. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Punishment? Making kids shape up or ship out? A child crying or fighting back?

This is what I mainly thought of in my early parenting years—kind of a drill sergeant’s perspective. So I was shocked to discover that rather than being negative, discipline can be and should be quite positive.

The new perspective begins with recognizing that the word discipline is derived from the Latin word “to disciple”. And to disciple someone is to teach and to lead them.

Teach them what? We dads should teach our children principles and values that will help them develop an inner guidance system so they can function responsibly by themselves. In short, we discipline so our child can learn self-discipline.

To discipline is to lead. To lead is to set an example. Next month we will focus on this one key topic – how to model good behavior.

A third, even more usual meaning of to discipline, is to love. Solomon, the wise king of Israel, was probably one of the first humans to link love with discipline: “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him.” In modern day parlance, “rather than causing your child to question your love, discipline confirms your love (Chuck Swindoll)

[in my next post we will look at the first of 4 strategies in an offensive drive by dads to discipline constructively]