Discipline: It's About The Future - Part III

This has been a hectic week and I'm glad I finally get to finish up this discussion on discipline.  I think some of you got emailed my notes on this post because it published before I could finish it, sorry for that.

In Part 1, I outlined a true story of a friend of mine and how lack of discipline in childhood led to lack of discipline in adulthood.

In Part 2, we talked about family laws and laying a foundation for discipline as well as the different types of discipline used. 

In this final post, I will tie it all together and hopefully lay out the reason why this is so essential and why we use this plan in our family.

One of the main techniques I witness parents use that never works long term is the Bribery and Rewards technique.  This is where we bride our children with candy, toys, etc in return for their behavior.  I admit at times when I get frustrated I sometimes resort to this approach and I have to catch myself and redirect my parenting.  This technique teaches children that they act appropriately only when offered something in return, not a good trait to instill. 

One of the best approaches to discipline has nothing to do with discipline at all but rather with rewarding good behavior.   This is simply giving praise when a child acts appropriately.  Too often we only address a child's behavior when it is negative.  Instead, we should praise good behavior openly and publicly.  This technique works very well and when used in conjunction with the other forms of discipline, it has marvelous results. 

Now on to some of the results. 

The whole reason we want to instill discipline in our child is not for appropriate behavior now, but rather for life long success and true greatness later.

I have long studied great leaders, people in the top of their fields and the financially wealthy and all of them have something in common. Self Discipline.

Even Jesus himself was a master of self discipline.

Self Discipline is simply the ability to delay gratification now, in order to receive greater rewards in the future.  Every successful person I have met or studied has learned to master this trait. 

Truly great and successful people become great by simply doing the things that other people will not, on a consistent basis.

Studying More, Training More, Saving More, Reading More, Developing Relationships More. 

Not only that but they also have the ability and self discipline to be long term, advanced decision makers.

I once did financial planning for a deca-millionaire and he accounted for every penny he spent.  When I asked him about this, he said that every single decision he makes, he looks at how it will effect him 5,10,15 years from now.

When he was young, instead of spending money on new cars, eating out regularly, or impulsive buying, he saved that money with the goal of one day being financial independent.

One of the most famous studies done illustrating self discipline is the Marshmallow Study. Marshmallows

The Marshmallow Study, conducted in the 1960’s by Stanford University psychology researcher Michael Mischel, demonstrated how important self-discipline is to lifelong success. He started his longitudinal study by offering a group of 4-year-olds one marshmallow, but told them that if they could wait for him to return after running an errand, they could have two marshmallows. The “errand” took about fifteen to twenty minutes. The theory was that those children who could wait would demonstrate that they had the ability to delay gratification and control impulse.

About fourteen years later, when the children in the experiment graduated from high school, the Marshmallow Study revealed startling differences between the two     groups: the children who waited and did not gobble up the single marshmallow,     were more positive, self-motivating, persistent in the face of difficulties, and able to delay gratification in pursuit of their goals. They had developed the habits of successful adults. The habits, the centerpiece of which is delayed gratification, point to more thriving marriages, greater career satisfaction which leads to higher incomes, and better health.  

The children who did NOT wait were more troubled, stubborn and indecisive,     mistrustful, less self-confident. And, they were still unable to delay immediate     gratification. Worse yet, these “one marshmallow” kids scored   an average of 210 points less on SAT tests. Why? Distraction and the desire   for instant gratification got in the way of good, focused study time. If not corrected, lack of impulse control will continue to trip these kids up throughout life, resulting in unsuccessful marriages, low job satisfaction and as a result low income, bad health and all around frustration with life.

"The only quality which sets one man apart from another - the key which lifts one to every aspiration while others are caught up in the mire of mediocrity - is not talent, formal education, nor intellectual brightness - it is SELF DISCIPLINE. With SELF DISCIPLINE, all things are possible. Without it, even the simplest goal can seem like the impossible dream."  - Theodore Roosevelt

Epidemic One of the books on my reading list addresses discipline and goes even further to proclaim that many children today are being raised to become selfish, rude, undisciplined brats.  And the sole reason is the parents and there permissive parenting styles.

I found this book in the most unlikely and Un-Christian of places.  Berkley, San Fransisco, CA.

Child and family psychiatrist Robert Shaw wrote the book The Epidemic: The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children (Heck of a title huh?) after the Columbine shooting incident and wondering "How would you have to raise your kids for them to do this?"

A Great review of this book and some of its findings can be found here.  Here is some of the findings I picked out:

Not having firm rules and routines that you administer calmly, fairly, assertively and without guilt or hesitation.

Not conveying to your child - through both actions and words - the moral, ethical, and spiritual values you believe in (or not having moral, ethical, and spiritual values in the first place).

Yelling at and threatening your children. You can be firm and reliable in reinforcing rules without resorting to these tactics. When you lose your temper, it says that you have delayed handling an issue until your frustration and impotence have become overwhelming. You can act firmly right away; you don't have to wait until you get angry.

In Conclusion, I hope I've given you some tools for the parenting tool belt this week but more importantly, I hope this weeks topic challenges you to further look at your current discipline plan in your own house, the future ramifications of lack of discipline and that you will look deeper into researching this topic and it's importance. 

I certainly don't expect people to agree with my discipline plan because it is what works for my family, as parents, we each need to develop our own family rules and discipline plans but more importantly, we need to act on them and enforce them throughout our children's life with us.  As we have seen from the findings, it can have Lifelong Legacy results.

Until Next Time...