Many times parents are at their wit's end not knowing what to do when it comes to disciplining their children. For example, the question is sometimes asked “at what age should we start to discipline our child?” Several years ago I heard a great answer to that question: “Whenever your child is old enough to send a message, they are old enough to receive a message!”
It is crucial to remember that discipline is not punishment. Punishment involves fear, discipline involves teaching and learning for the parent and the child. Undisciplined parents are not good at teaching healthy character traits to young minds. So, please check yourself.
Also, every opportunity you get during those 18 years of development (being a minor) is an opportunity for teaching a LIFE LESSON! If you don’t teach them, someone on social media will— and you may not like the outcome. Parent’s please don’t MISS YOUR OPPORTUNITY!
Here are a few helpful thoughts for discipline ideas:
As the parent, what is your goal for discipline? (Restoring the relationship; Rebuilding trust; Earn Privileges back)
Have your child think about and answer these questions (consider writing down the thoughts and answers):
- How did my behavior choices affect other people? (Most of us never consider how our actions affect others, this is learned behavior)
- What is the difference between rights and privileges? (This question is more difficult than you think. Even as adults we think we have the right to Everything. The easy answer from the child is “my cell phone is a privilege”, but if we are being honest, every breath we take is also a privilege—the goal of this type of question is to help us to not take ANYTHING for granted)
- Tell me your thoughts and feelings about the value of (trust/honesty/love) in a relationship? (Pick one based on incident, these character traits are easily abused and taken for granted).
- What thoughts lead me to choose my behavior for this past incident? (Our actions are directly linked to our thoughts, poor thinking leads to poor behavior)
- Name at least 15 things you are grateful for: (This is just a reminder for all to be thankful in every circumstance)
- Name 3 things about your past behavior that displeases God and your parents: (further study of this is in Proverbs 6:16-19)
Remember, discipline is important, and RESTORATION is just as important. God the Creator is graciously ready to forgive us and restore us, but discipline is first used to Humble us. These questions can create some great dialogue between parents and young people. Parents you have the unique responsibility for raising leaders for the next generation—You have an Awesome responsibility that requires Discipline!!