When you think of discipline,  what comes to mind?
Time outs?
Behavior modification?
Natural and logical consequences?

Before revealing the best discipline secret, let’s unveil what discipline meant to your parents while you were growing up.
Did it mean…
Time outs?
Behavior modification?
Natural and logical consequences?

How our parents disciplined us, affects how we discipline our kids. Even though we know this we often we repeat past behaviors due the tapes that cycle through our memory banks. Sometimes we swing the opposite way in order not repeat unhealthy or hurtful patterns. Once we are able to look back and evaluate our own past experience we are better equipped to move forward and discipline our own kiddos well.

I looked up the biblical meaning for discipline and found these synonyms: train, teach, instruct, correct, warn, and punish.

Did you notice the progression? God begins with training, teaching, and instructing. He then moves to correction and  warning. The final mode of discipline is punishment. These are good logical steps to take–lesser to greater.

The secret to effective discipline is to begin with training, teaching , and instructing our kids.

We talk.
                 Our kids need to know how to live well and we can help them by clearly stating expectations : “Open the door for your dad, his hands are full.”

We show. We model. We describe.
                   We can demonstrate how to act and describe the heart behind the action. “I opened the door for your dad when his  hands were full because he needed help and our family helps each other .”
We train.
            Leave some room for the child to draw his own conclusion. “I noticed your dad’s hands are full and the door is shut. Can you help him?” 

We acknowledge. We reinforce. 

            “I saw you helped your dad out when his hands were full. I know he appreciated your help.   That was thoughtful of you to put down what you were doing to help your dad. You are a kind person.” 

There are always two goals to discipline. The first is the immediate desired behavior.  The second long term and more important goal is the heart behind the behavior, the character trait(s )you want to encourage and develop in your child.

Our kids don’t automatically know how to act. It is up to moms and dads to train them. It’s our job.

Watch for:
The Secret to Disciplining Well (Phase 2)
The Secret to Disciplining Well (Phase 3)

The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction.
Proverbs 16:23

Lori Wildenberg
co-founder of 1Corinthians13Parenting.com, co-author of 3 parenting books, mom of four (plus one daughter-in-love) Contact Lori for your next event. She is also available for parent consulting and parent training courses.
Head over to Amazon  to get Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love  for more parenting tips and strategies.

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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