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Effective Discipline part 2 - Issue 196
April 15, 2011
Hi there! ....

This week: One of the things I’ve been reminded of today, even as I prepare this newsletter, is the idea of stress and how that impacts my family. As my children have grown older and able to express themselves differently I have been surprised at the times they’ve seen me as stressed – I thought I was just rushed and busy! There is a difference – stress affects relationships. This is because when we are so focused on another project we don’t take time to notice, care or protect our relationships.

The thing that creates the most stress in my life is when I have too many things all happening at the same time. Even though we like to commend ourselves on our ability to multi-task there does come a time where we have to say – no, I cannot take on one more thing – my day is full!

And this is why my newsletter is late today: too many things all happening in the same time slot and I had to decide what was important.

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Effective Discipline - Part 2

Last week we looked at our role in the idea of effective discipline. This week we ask ourselves the question: Who is the Boss?

Our children are of a selfish nature, and we can see this happening as early as the toddler years. To them: Everything is about me. The thing is though if we look at any time were we are having an issue with a child it is this selfishness that is rearing its ugly head. So regardless of whether you are dealing with a toddler or a pre-teen you are dealing with selfishness at the core.

The only way we have any input into our children’s lives, the only way we can train them away from selfishness and towards a heart that considers the other person is when our children recognise our authority in their life. This is called submission. Once again regardless of being a toddler or a teen any issue we face we need to have established our right to speak into our children’s lives.

When our children are young we do this (establishing our authority) by simply being the boss. Unfortunately we abdicate our role of authority all too easily. We relinquish our authority when

  • we ask our children to do things instead of telling them,
  • when we don’t follow through or we back down,
  • when we negotiate,
  • when we ignore or make light of their disobedience or bad attitude.

Selfish people want to rule, our children want to be their own boss, and when we abdicate our authority we are giving them permission to rule (to be the boss) – and they will take it with both hands! Then we have major conflict on our hands when we come to a situation where we will not back down. How much easier it is to maintain our position of authority in the first place.

Why are we in that position? I believe it is a God given role – we are older, wise and more experienced in life than our children and we have the responsibility to ‘grow up’ our children. Who ever thought of giving a junior in a company the decision making power and the cheque book! The privilege of decision making comes with knowledge, discernment and experience.

Now with older children our tactics have to change a little if we haven’t already established our role of authority in their lives. And this is a whole different topic, but ultimately, we have to be able to show them that we are on their side, that we want the best for them. They have to be convinced that we want to use all our experience and wisdom for their benefit. We need to get along side of an older child and help them see that their life would benefit by following our instructions – helping them arrive at a place where they want change too. (But without abdicating our authority – so it is a tricky balance to find.)

Once our children have learnt submission – or recognise our authority in their life we can begin to train in other areas such as life skills, health and safety, spiritual and moral issues.

This week, as you face situations with your children, take a moment to assess their level of submission – ask yourself – “Who is ruling in this situation? Whose will is being crossed and whose will is the strongest?

We need to balance our authority with mercy, forgiveness and benevolence.

  • Mercy – there may well be times, simply out of the love of our child, that we wipe the consequence of their actions, we excuse them, not because they don’t deserve a consequence, but because we choose to show mercy.
  • Forgiveness – We need to forgive our children quickly, and then we need to let it go. Jesus is our example here – he quickly forgives us for anything once we come to him, and secondly He then forgets about it and never brings it up against us again. It is forgiven and gone, done and buried! Is this the level of forgiveness we offer our children?
  • Benevolence – this is just another word for Love – “Genuine love is giving without any expectation of personal reward” quoted from The Power for True Success. Is our love conditional, is it intermittent depending on their behaviour? Our love for our children needs to be regardless of their behaviour, it needs to be unconditional.

So once again we find that effective discipline is still more about me than my child!!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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