child being disciplinedDISCIPLINE…by a loving dad is good medicine. Today, this is a very controversial subject when it comes to the means and method. I grew up in the era of the switch, even a belt or razor strap to the legs or derriere. Paddles were in order and some were quite imposing. When you’re young your grandfather looks like a great big man, which he was. He never used his razor strap on me but all he had to do for me and my cousins was to pop it a couple of times and the issue was settled. We obeyed! My dad never spanked me, only Mother. The last time, she had me pick out the switch, with the warning that it better not break easily. One of life’s hard decisions at an early age!

In the 1950’s I went to Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, TN and to work off demerits, you could choose to have a paddling. You got five demerits off versus study hall being only one demerit reduction. It was a long thick wood paddle with a carved handle and several holes at the end. It went something like this. ‘Bend over, hang on and no crying.’ Some boys were sent stumbling across the room. In the history of BGA, there have not been any recorded major injuries or deaths. But some very deep ‘seated’ memories for a lifetime! I always chose study hall.

So, what is discipline? Tough love with an intended purpose. Every child needs to understand safe boundaries for their protection. They learn consequences from unruly or stubborn behavior. Right from wrong is imbedded in their minds. All kids know they need discipline. It is simply inherent in their consciences. And when they are allowed to escape proper punishment or admonishment, they grow to become self-loathing and undisciplined.

Proverbs and elsewhere in scripture points out the need for proper discipline, and if God says so, it must be so! Here are just two. Time out wasn’t found. Just saying!

“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him” (22:15 NIV).

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart” (29:17 NIV).

Here are some tips.

Effective discipline…
             corrects your children’s attitude with skill, patience and training;
             adapts the method of discipline to your child’s age;
             makes sure your child knows why he/she is being disciplined;
             is consistent;
             follows up with discipline if it is not immediate;
             follows through with decreed discipline;
             takes time to decide discipline in certain instances;
             is appropriate for the wrong choice or action they’ve made;
             is performed in love, with the ultimate goal of teaching your child.

Effective discipline is not
             ignoring poor behavior;
             reverting to a flawed view of discipline you’ve learned in the past;
             letting anger accompany and influence your method of discipline;
             abusing your child.

Slapping or hitting your child in an abusive manner must always be off-limits. Effective discipline is always motivated by love. There is no pain or fear prompted by love that leads to abuse of your children. Remember that those who experience abuse are likely to abuse others. When you abuse your children, you’re not only hurting the ones you love, but leading them into a habit of the abuse as well. Often, bitterness may develop as a result of your means or method of discipline that will take a lifetime to resolve.

Dads, set the tone in your family. Agreement with your wife is critical also. Your children will thank you long after the pain subsides.

Life Today
Bill C. Dotson
www.abidingfathers.org
bill@abidingfathers.org