This is part nine of my series based on the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10. To learn more about what I am doing, read my first post on Reading and Writing.
You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.
This week's focus is on Discipline.
I feel a little funny writing about this topic because I am no where near the perfect parent and my children are no where near near the perfect children (but God made us perfect for each other! =) As far as discipline and obedience goes, we are still in the training process, but I still want to share with you all today because the article mentioned above has some great thoughts on the subject.
This section of the article begins by saying that if the area of discipline is neglected, you might as well forget about academics. If our children do not learn to be obedient to us, then they will most likely struggle with self-discipline in their own life. We work on that a lot in my home. It is fun to do loud, active things sometimes, but we also need to learn to be in control of our body and our mouths (and our thoughts...but we're not tackling that one yet with our 3 and 2 year olds =).
Ideally, we should have the respect of our children, they should love to please us, and they should be obedient (happily) at our first request. I don't know that this is ever possible to get 100%, but it's a good goal! Also, as children mature, you want them to be critical thinkers and not just follow commands blindly, so this concept needs to be tweaked at each developmental stage. For example, it is appropriate for two year olds to obey for no reason other than because their parent told them to. A four year old has new processes going on in his head and wants to know "why?" It is good to explain things to this aged child, but it is not appropriate for them to need to know the answer in order for them to obey.
I have found with my children that a huge impact on their obedience (and attitude that goes along with it) is my attitude. If I let my 'in the moment' anger get in the way, it doesn't accomplish much and in fact I am convinced that it causes more anger and aggression in my children in the near future. So, as parents it is very important for us to react calmly and lovingly, yet still unwaveringly. It is also important to make sure that you child hears you when you give them a command or ask them a question. In order for that to happen, you need to train them that it is of utmost importance for them to look at you right away when they hear your voice. This is for their safety if nothing else!
I do want to make clear that the goal of discipline is not to make robots of our children. Ultimately it is to have an enjoyable, peaceful home and to win our children's hearts, to guide them to loving God, and to raise thoughtful, considerate, teachable, young adults.
If for no other reason...
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." Fathers, do no provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4
This section in the article has a few other very informative sub-sections on socialization, work ethic, having a peaceful home, having a good attitude, and a few others. They are definitely worth a read! Even if you do not agree with every word, there is much food for thought.
How do you handle obedience and discipline in your home? What do you expect from your children and how do you go about getting it? I'd love to hear some tips from you, or ask a question that someone else here can help answer!
Check out how we are doing in this area in my follow up post, Discipline Re-Visited.