The Art of Discipline: Making it Helpful

David Conlee   -  

As a new parent of twin almost-three-year-old boys, I find myself needing to discipline often.  I want to fight the battles now, so we’re not fighting bigger battles later.  On good days, I want to help shape their little lives to become the men they can and should be by teaching them now.  And on not-so-good days, I just want to wring their little necks.  (not literally… I think.)
So I’m learning how to discipline effectively.  I’m learning how to reinforce positive behavior and discourage negative behavior.  I’m learning to discipline for behavior change and not to be punitive.  It’s all very challenging.  So when I read this post from Gina McClain on TheParentCue.org, I found it very encouraging:
Shepherding the hearts of our kids is one of those daily behaviors that does more to refine and challenge me than anything else in my life. In my interactions with my kids, God reveals more to me about my own humanity than I care to know. Particularly in disciplinary situations.
One thing I’ve learned about kids is that I cannot control their actions. There are times when I try. There are times I guide, nudge, remind, even harass… yet, in the end, they decide what action they will take. Not me.
I don’t know about you, but that really gets under my skin. It’s something I have to actively submit to the Father asking Him for guidance and patience. Recently He brought Ephesians 4:29 back onto my radar.
“Don’t say anything that would hurt

[another person]. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you.” (GWT)
It’s a timely reminder for me that my role as mom is to Fight for the Heart of my kids, to create a culture of unconditional love in my home that fuels their emotional and moral health. Approaching discipline in a way that is helpful takes practice, planning and patience.
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