The Painful Task of Disciplining Children
Children do not enjoy a good reputation. They are most often judged as a whole, and not as individuals. When a small group of adults enter an establishment, say a restaurant or department store, it is practically un-noticed. However, when little people enter the same aforementioned places, people are keenly aware of their presence. Sometimes a slight groan can be detected as the kids enter the room. Those passing judgment adjudicate from their past experiences of rowdy children. Any parent who has gone to dinner with kids can anticipate the family's seating arrangement. The hostess will place you as far back in the restaurant as possible, frequently across from the restrooms. All children are not unruly and un-disciplined. Those who are not, suffer the reputation of those who are. How unfair!
Children come into the world screaming. This is natural. It is however, un-natural if a child never learns the discipline of self control. At a young age a child must be gently taught that the world does not revolve around him/her. When a child is disorderly it is the fault of his oblivious parents. Should a child disobey in a restaurant disrupting other patrons it is acceptable, yes even expected, that the parent remove the child momentarily. The child should be told that people in the establishment did not come there to enjoy his tantrum. Upon the return of a more quiet spirit the parent may return with the child to the table. The food on your plate may be cold, but the child learns a valuable lesson. It is not all about me. Consistency is discipline’s partner. Be forewarned: If you do not discipline your child at home, forget putting your foot down in a restaurant. Expect the same good behavior regardless of whether the child is at home, school or in a fancy, grown up, establishment. Diligent parents will discover the pleasure of having their children with them in the most unlikely, and sometimes non kid-friendly places. Diligent parents have disciplined obedient children.
A child will strive to behave when positive re-enforcement is applied. A parent should definitely reward a child for good behavior. It is just as imperative to choose consequences that will negatively impact your children for positive results. Then stick to it. If your child is told to clean his room or there will be no trip to the park, then follow through. In addition, stop counting aloud in hopes that your child will obey by three, five or whatever the magic number happens to be. Besides being annoying, it teaches the youngster that obedience need not be swift. If you are a controlled individual and can responsibly spank your child, an occasional swat on the bottom, though out of vogue, is not out of order. This depends on your child, and your self control. If you only spank when angry, and not for the good of the child then don’t spank. The old adage "a spanking really hurts the parent more than it hurts the child", should be true. No parent should relish in spanking his/her child. Also, in regards to spanking, there is an age at which it is no longer an option.
Yesterday's progeny was plagued by the statement, “children are to be seen and not heard”. Back then parents ruled with an iron hand, and silliness was not high on their priority list. I do not advocate a return to the rigidness of the old days. On the other hand, the pendulum has swung way too wide. Children are being caressed into believing they are entitled, unrestricted. Young people are becoming their own authority. The present generation reserves the right to disrespect whom they choose. Teachers, police officers, not even the elderly lady down the street, are to challenge them on anything. Parents who preach entitlement to their children do them a disservice. We all have to answer to someone at some point in our lives. It is a fact which might as well be learned young.
Listen, kids are fantastic! They just can not raise themselves. Food, clothing, shelter, and education are not enough. Discipline is mandatory. If you love your child, do what is difficult. Teach and demand good behavior. It will merely serve him well. Don’t allow your child to tarnish the reputation of more disciplined children.
"Let the little children come to me, and do not prevent them. For such is the kingdom of God."(Matthew 19:14)
- Welcome to Focus on the Family
Focus on the Family provides relevant Christian advice on marriage, parenting and other topics. Find practical resources for every age and lifestage.
- Moody Radio - Where You Turn. For Life.
Moody Radio home page