Secrets of Loving Discipline

Raising children today isn't easy. As your children grow older, it's natural for them to challenge you. Often it seems easier to just let them have their way. But children need limits, and they need parents to guide them. One of the secrets of good parenting is to find the right balance between love and discipline. Here are some secrets of effective discipline.
Develop a bond. Children need a generous amount of your time and attention. When they don't, get it, they often misbehave. That's why it makes sense to spend more time with them even though things might be hectic. As your relationship grows, your children will probably feel more secure. Result: Less discipline will be needed.
Set a good example. Your children learn a great deal from what you say and do. When you speak to them, is it usually with friendly respect? Do you spend more time pointing out their mistakes, or their achievement? Ask yourself, "If I were young, would I feel good about living here?"
Make the rules clear. Children do best when they know what to expect. Make a list of family rules-along with clear consequences. Put them on the refrigerator for everyone to see. Example: "If you make a mess, you have to clean it up before doing anything else."
Be firm when necessary. You can expect your children to "test" the rules and routines. When they do, don't give in, or they'll learn that "testing" allows them to get their way.

Discipline works best with a balance of love, respect, clearly defined rules, and understanding. Quite a juggling act, but worth the effort!

Reprinted from the Home & School Connection newsletter, November 1995 (Resources for Educators, Inc.).

© 1996 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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