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Archive for October, 2011


Wednesday, October 5th, 2011


Sparing discipline (“the rod”) creates an undisciplined (“spoiled”) child.

Difficult and destructive behaviours associated with poor discipline are on the increase. Some parents have become discipline idlers – maybe because they are too tired, too busy, have no time to stand up to their youngster’s problematical ways.

Are parents ‘giving in’ for the sake of instant, albeit short lasting, peace?  Do some parents believe in the ‘latest ideas’ about how to raise happy children rather than instil sensible order!?

The word “discipline,” coming from the Greek root, implies educating, not punishment.

Punishing a child will cause emotional and psychological wounding; a ‘wounded’ child will not thrive. A wounded child can express their hurt and pain as resisting any rules from parents. However children will not just become disciplined, they need a top teacher. They need parent to teach them what is correct and what is not. Teaching discipline, on behalf of a child’s well being is not straightforward, because children are really complex small people.

For our children’s sake, for their future happiness, success, self respect, and respect for others we parents need to be outstanding models. We parents need to be disciplined about our lives. If we are not disciplined how can we expect our children to be?

So let’s take a courageous look at our own discipline? Can we improve? Probably! Improvement will lead us adults to feel happier, more creative and productive, and guide our children, who will want to model us, because they will respect us. They in turn will feel respected and be respectful and successful.


Let your younger children know that they do not rule the family, you do, and that you always have the last say! Your children will feel and be more secure, they may not like what you have to say, but their inner stability relies on you being reliably decisive.

Children need boundaries, and they will continuously be testing the boundaries. Top parents will allow their children, once they are old enough to have the vocabulary, to express their opinions. Parents will listen attentively, they will give space to their children to be able to disagree with them. And then having, (when appropriate), taken everything their child has said into consideration, make the final decision.

A child needs to know, be shown and be told, that they are important.  They also need to be taught that everyone else is important, and everyone else has rights.

If your child is old enough to yell ‘abusively’ at you, then your child is old enough to be quiet! If your child is old enough to spend money then your child is old enough to not spend money! Whatever your child is old enough to do, they are also old enough to not do! You can effectively teach them this principle.

Younger children do not need lengthy explanations and reasons about your ‘last word’ Your last words can sometimes be your only words, because often, the only thing that will be ‘reasonable’ to your youngster is what they want! “Now listen darling fire is really hot you must not touch it. If you do your skin will blister and be really painful. Blisters are……” Just say calmly and firmly, (your tone needs to be fierce tenderness, often these days called ‘tough love’): “Get away from there!

Parents, you need to be in charge, if you don’t take charge your children will!

Your voice needs to be reliably, consistently calm, don’t shout “Calm down!!”, speaking calmly will mean you are leading, and you will sooner or later ‘lead’ your child to be calm.

Take every opportunity to validate your children. Your validation makes your child feel valued as a person, and makes them feel that they are accepted and feel

calm. Children’s brains are ‘hard wired’ to seek acceptance. If they do not receive acceptance from parents, they can feel driven to find it in a peer group that may lead them sadly astray…….

Enter their world! This strategy looks manipulative. It is. But you have a good, right purpose, which is to guide your child into a happier, healthier, safer world. When your child has become involved in a ‘dangerous’ world: clubs, drugs, sex….then you must ‘appear’ to be really interested! Enquire with questions congruently as if you really want to get to know their world. You have to be elegant about this! But your interest puts you firmly back into a power position, for all the right reasons. It’s called ‘building bridges’. You place ‘one foot’ in their world with your interest, and you keep your ‘other foot’ firmly in the safe, right world. Your child will then feel they can keep their ego intact and rejoin you in your world.