Republishing this piece my husband wrote about 2 years ago about how to raise disciplined kids. Hope it inspires other parents out there especially in this back-to-school season.
Getting Mr N to write can be as hard as getting a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. However, when his pen starts speaking spontaneously, it is so inspirational. He wrote this article on parenting yesterday and posted on his Facebook wall. I just had to put it on the blog because there is a lot of value in there. Take it away, darling!
I have three little girls aged 5, 3 and 1.5. I am working to make them group “A” children and eventually group “A” parents tomorrow. Because of this, some have called me “old fashioned”. I say if being old fashioned will make my kids grow up taking responsibility, knowing the consequences of disobedience, avoiding laziness, respecting their elders and setting up goals for their lives and attaining them, all this at the same time making use of all the good advantages of modern times and leaving the many disadvantages, THEN, I’LL BE GLAD TO BE OLD FASHIONED.
This is my motto: A failed child indicates a failed parent. The only true success in life for a parent is the success of the children and this does not depend on financial status (on the contrary, many children of wealthy families are “spoiled”). This depends on the SELF DISCIPLINE of the parents themselves. I will refer to a post I read some time back which said that every problem in the house can be traced back to a failure on the part of the head of the house.
I accept that responsibility and I have found out that with God’s help and Biblical principles, I can run my house such that there is perfect peace, joy and harmony. This does not mean the absence of disagreements but creating the right atmosphere and rules so that disagreements are handled peacefully and lessons learnt for improvement. This is the real foundation to produce “A” group children. This kind of atmosphere takes time, commitment and continuous learning to build. It is another full-time job. The fruits are however most gratifying.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it Pr. 22:6
In sports, no coach or trainer sits lazily around and lets the trainee or team do whatever they want and expect victory in a game. Coaches and trainers work harder than the trainees, they see the vision for the team and put all their energy into moving the team towards that goal. Have you wondered why moderate to good athletes end up as coaches? You can not give what you don’t have.
The first step is determining what way the child should go! The problem with most parents is that they have not even determined THE WAY their children should go, talk less of teaching that way to their children. When as parents we don’t consciously plan and mark out THE WAY our children should go, not only will we not teach (educate) them and direct them in life, we will be allowing the society, the government, friends, the streets, the TV, Video games, etc, to teach them for us!
When we look at what is on TV entertainment channels, on the streets, and the world at large, we agree that things have turned up-side-down in terms of morals. Things that used to be abominations have become normal all in the name of modernization and freedom.
I am not saying that TV, video games, friends, or the society are all bad. What I’m saying is that, if those are the forces that will most influence our children WITHOUT our direct conscious direction, discipline, love, motivation AND ABOVE ALL GOOD EXAMPLE, then it will take a miracle for those kids to turn out well tomorrow.
I put emphasis on “good example” because from my observation, our children become for the most part, who we are. They do for the most part, what we do. Don’t be fooled, even the things we do in hiding! It will run in the blood, blood is thicker than water.
My wife and I have watched our kids embracing most of the things that we do. They love the TV shows we love, they eat the things we eat, they even “swear” by what we swear by. They use the exclamations we use and treat others the way they see us treating others. So the greater part of the job is done if we parents set our own conduct right. If we can subdue our own selves and be the persons we really secretly wish to be, do the right things we really want to be and avoid the stuff we want our kids to avoid, then we are on the right track already.
Does it sound like a kind of constrained, boring and rule-filled home? Not at all. We have lots of fun and despite all that, let kids be kids…but they know their boundaries and are learning to stay within it.
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Pr 19:18
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Pr 13:24
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Pr 22:15
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Pr 23:13-14
There is a world of difference between flogging/spanking or beating a child out of anger, frustration or disappointment AND doing so in love and understanding as a means of correction. Some simple rules:
• If you are really angry (mad) restrain from addressing the child’s action at that time, do something else to cool off.
• Punishment should not be too often or immediate for the first occurrence of a crime, talking is a good starter.
• Do not discipline the child twice for the same crime, or too severely for a simple crime (“severely” is left to your discretion)
• Do not punish the child until you talk with them and they understand WHY they are being punished.
• Show love and affection to the child even while you are implementing the discipline. example: I sometimes engage my little girl in a lovely conversation while she is doing some punishment. This is a great way to show the child that punishment is not a result of hatred. It is sometimes in these conversations that my little girl will show real remorse for her crime and promise not to do it again. I sometimes hug them while they are doing the punishment.
• When the punishment is over, talk about it, the crime and the way forward.
• If spanking your child, do it in love, don’t inflict wounds, swells, bruises, or any severe pain.
• Avoid using lies, or using frightening circumstances or stories to scare a child or as punishment, remember, they will grow out of those lies or those “monster” stories and will feel no obligation to do the right thing anymore since the monsters “are not real”.
• The same as we should avoid telling our children “sweet lies” to motivate them to do something. As early as I could engage in a conversation with my little one, I let them know that Father Christmas (Santa Claus) is just pretend. Some think it is fun but it plays on the child’s psychology when they realise it was all a lie, they will not know when to believe us or not, or which story we are telling them is fake and they will only discover it soon. This has a huge impact on how we relate to them and how much we can influence them.
• Punishment should be punishment, I find it hard to believe that some parents use normal activities as punishment. Children can be very sneaky, I’ve seen children being punished with an activity which they actually like to do (but the parents thought they would hate it). And the children actually committed crimes as a means to get punished in order to do their favourite activity. Let’s know our children!
Remember if we fail to discipline our children now, the society will not spare them for crimes committed in adulthood.
Thank you so much, Mr N!
What are your thoughts on this?
Any more ideas on how we can raise disciplined and godly kids? Please share below.