If you look up the word "discipline" you will see some different meanings. Merriam-Webster says
1. To punish or penalize for the sake of enforcing obedience and perfecting moral character.
2. To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control.
Now let's just consider if you, as the adult, get to choose how you yourself will be "disciplined" for a new job you're learning to do. Would you pick to be "punished or penalized" or "trained and developed by instruction and exercise"? In other words, would YOU prefer to learn by punishments or by training?
Most adults would choose training. Teach me what how to do this new job, show me step by step or by example and let me try it out. I'm betting most of our children would also prefer to learn by training rather than punishments.
If the goal of discipline is to teach or train, how do we judge if it's working? I used to feel like my approach was working if.... my kids did what I told them to do, when I told them. Can you relate? Back then, the result, or compliance of my kid was the only measure of success. Now I look at it with a different lens, relationship.
Prioritizing my relationships with my kids means respecting them and their dignity at all times, including when I'm frustrated with choices or behavior, and when I'm training them to improve and grow.
With this lens in mind, I could get an out word compliance in behavior from my kid as a result of punishments, threats or rewards, but if it comes at the cost of my relationship with that child, then I've missed the most important part.
Focus on your relationship with your child and the training and development will come more naturally and with less push-back and hurt feelings.
If you're a parent in a difficult season with your child,
if you are in constant control battles with your kid
if nothing you do seems to work
if you're frustrated, feeling hopeless or overwhelmed... reach out to me.
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