Disciplining Your Child – A Whole New Perspective

Modeling Good Behavior

I said in my last post that we will look at four offensive strategies to discipline our children constructively.

The first of these is modeling good behavior. We begin with this because of the definition of discipline which is an instruction to be imparted to “disciples’ or learners.

This means that a dad must first live a life worthy of his children’s emulation. To do this, we must have our own values clearly established, and we must live them.

The importance of having such values and living them was demonstrated persuasively in a Swedish study, which found that well-disciplined adults who live in accordance with their values hardly need to preach self-control to their children and rarely do it. It also found that the converse was true: parents who tell children to be disciplined but who lead undisciplined lives are ineffectual.

True. And easy to say, but oh so hard to do.

I’m reminded of the poignant imagery conveyed by Robert Bly of what children get from all too many modern day dads. He talks about how children used to receive the father’s teaching and his temperament. Now when dad drags himself home from the office or factory at 6:30 or even 8, the children get only his temperament. Dad’s tired, and he probably has had a rough day. That’s reality.

It is also what Great Dads are called to rise above. It’s quite basic. If you want disciplined children, be a responsible, upright, self-disciplined person—a living example of the values you embrace.

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