Discipline: It's About The Future - Part II

We continue to delve further into our discussion on Discipline

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."      - Ephesians 6:4 (NASB)

First there must be a foundation of ground rules set.  These rules we call our "family laws" must be clear and concise and the children must understand their importance and the consequences of not following them.  Here is some examples of our family laws:

Respect - Respect your parents, adults and teachers.  Respect others, other peoples property and other peoples feelings, unless you are asked to do something morally wrong.

Obedience - Obey your parents, teachers and other adults in authority positions.  Obey all laws. 

Honesty -  Always tell the truth, even if it may get you in trouble.  Never sacrifice your word or Honor.

Be Supportive - Help the family, help your team and help other people and those in need.

Do Unto Others - Do Unto others as you would do unto you.  Don't treat anyone or act in a way that you would not want them to treat you.

These are the 5 simple rules to govern our household and violating them can lead to discipline issues.  Our children know these rules but more importantly they understand the moral reason why these rules are to be followed. 

Any child can be conditioned to act or think in a certain way by adding or removing stimuli, this is simple classical conditioning.  The goal in our parenting is not for a child to think or act in this way because Mom or Dad is around and I could be punished.  But that they internalize the moral reasons and understand these rules are Life Rules that are applied no matter who is present or not. 

I really don't care how well behaved someones kids act in the presence of their parents or in a setting such as church, this is external.

I care how they act when they are alone with their friends, under peer pressure.  This is internal.

Hebrews 12:5-6 states:

And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. (NIV)

Discipline in a child's life must have the following elements to be effective:

It must be taken seriously and have consequences the child fears
It must demonstrate love for the child and their well being
It involves many forms including verbal and physical consequences
Physical punishment must include temporary pain. (Pleasure/Pain)
It must produce respect for the rules and those enforcing the rules

We also use varying stages of discipline in our household, these stages include:

Verbal Correction
Withholding Privileges
Natural Consequences
Additional Duties or Chores
Spanking (Up to age 10)

I wish their was some sure-fire template to use to instill discipline in our children but that is simply not available.  Maybe because God is not only working to discipline our children but he is also working on further disciplining us as parents?

Because there is no sure-fire template, we use a mixture of the above stages and the consequences and their severity always fit the crime. 

In recap, we looked at establishing a firm foundation of rules and the moral reason why we have these rules.  We looked at some elements of effective discipline and finally the stages we use in discipline. 

In our final post this week, we will give some tips on making this plan work and also so evidence of it's effectiveness.