As a parent, you inherit the responsibility to raise your child and prepare them to live life as an autonomous adult. On the path of raising a child, however, you are faced with many challenges and frustrations that come from a child who asserts his or her desire for control and authority. This can be frustrating and trying, but disciplining your child is a natural part of life.
Think of discipline as the tools you give your child to be successful in life. It is the training they need to grow into happy, healthy adults. Discipline is not simply punishment, but training your child to develop good habits that will help them through life.
Consider an athlete. An athlete must train for their sport, they must get in shape, they must know their sport intimately and know how to compete fairly. When we see professional athletes in action, we often neglect to consider the amount of time and effort it took for them to become as successful as they are. To throw a seemingly effortless touchdown pass or make a blind pass to a teammate seems magical. But the truth is, it took time to develop these skills. And the time spent developing such skills is not always fun, but takes hard work and discipline. That is, teaching yourself to do something because you know it will benefit you in the future even if the immediate rewards are not readily apparent.
Keep this in mind when you are disciplining your children. Be aware that you will not necessarily see results from your parenting until much later down the road. Be aware that you will have many struggles and battles with your child along the way. Be aware that it will not be easy. But it will be worth it.
To effectively discipline your children, it is important to have a plan. Set reasonable goals for your child and then develop a plan to help your child reach those goals. You must also plan for how you will deal with set backs and defiance. If you have a clear goal, you should be able to come up with consequences that reinforce the need for your child to be obedient and help them understand the importance of behaving properly.
When considering disciplining techniques (see Disciplining Techniques) it is very important that you choose a method that will not squelch your child’s spirit or harm your child’s ability to trust you or other adults. When you do choose a method, it is important that you stick with it. Be firm and consistent with the way that you discipline and you will save yourself many arguments and headaches down the road.
Also, it is very important that your child knows that you love him or her and that you still want to spend time with them, even after they have misbehaved. It is important for you to forgive your child and let them know that you forgive them. This will teach your child important lessons about forgiveness and acceptance that will help them as they get older.