Dr. John Rosemond on Disciplining Your Child Successfully
- Thursday, October 08, 2009
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of John Rosemond's new book, The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2009).
No issue seems to frustrate parents more than how to discipline their kids. From trying to tame toddler tantrums to urging teens to clean their rooms, parents often experience more stress than positive results.
If you're struggling to get your kids to behave well, there's hope. Viewing yourself as a God-given leader for your kids and communicating your authority effectively will change the way you discipline. As a result, your kids' behavior will change for the better.
Here's how you can discipline your kids successfully:
Don't make excuses for your kids. Accept the reality that your kids - just like all people - have a sin nature that makes it natural for them to misbehave. While you love your kids, they're not innocent. Approach discipline with the understanding that you need to train your kids to develop good attitudes and actions. Remember that the root word of discipline is "disciple" and realize that disciplining your kids is a vital part of their spiritual growth. Don't make excuses for them when they behave badly. Instead, challenge them to learn how to do better, and help and encourage them along the way.
View discipline as a form of love. Even though it may seem surprising, your kids actually want you to discipline them. Discipline makes kids feel secure in the knowledge that their parents care about them enough to help them learn to make wise choices in life. The most obedient kids are also the happiest kids. Ask God to help you love your kids unconditionally - even when they misbehave - but also view your efforts to discipline them as an important way of expressing your love to them.
Be short and sweet. When giving your kids instructions, be direct and use as few words as possible. That will help your kids understand you most clearly. You don't need to justify your instructions to your kids. Explaining your reasons will only give them opportunities to argue with you. Just let them know what you expect them to do. If they ask "Why?", simply reply, "Because I said so."
Nip misbehavior in the bud. Be consistently intolerant of misbehavior in your kids. Deal with it right away, letting your kids know that you won't accept anything less than proper behavior at all times and in all situations.
Let your kids solve their own problems. Rather than agonizing over how to solve your kids' problems yourself, motivate them to seek solutions to their own problems. Let them feel the pain that their problems are causing in their lives and help them find remedies without rescuing them. Remember that you can't change your kids' behavior. You can only bring about circumstances in their lives that will cause them to reconsider their behavior and change it themselves.
Follow through with consequences. When your kids misbehave, calmly enforce appropriate consequences right away. Don't threaten, warn, give second chances, or make deals.
Keep going until you reach a cure. When working on a particular misbehavior you hope to train your kids to overcome, look at the misbehavior as if it were an infection you want to knock out of their lives. Don't stop your treatment process when the symptoms start to disappear (when your kids' misbehavior starts to diminish and they begin to cooperate with you). Keep disciplining them until that type of misbehavior has been eradicated and replaced with a visibly better attitude and self-concept.
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