The Discipline Checkup: Is what you’re doing with your kids really working?

When our children were young, Barb and I quickly learned that parenting skills were not intuitive or inherited, so we sought mentors who could help us. We were so grateful to our friends Bill and Jane Judge sharing with us so much good information. I’ve recently written about some of that great advice in an article for a national parenting magazine.

The article, “The Discipline Checkup: Is what you’re doing really working?” was published in the January/February issue of Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family MagazineHere’s a brief extract from the article:

Bill explained that discipline comes from the root word disciple and means “to teach or to coach.” It means teaching appropriate and biblical thinking and behavior. On the other hand, he said that punish means “to correct” or “to chastise.”

When used effectively, punishment always supports discipline. Inappropriate punishment, however, can cause confusion for the child and results in little or no discipline. The goal of parenting is to equip children with what they need to be successful, satisfied and spiritually mature adults. It’s through discipline that we equip our kids by teaching them such things as the critical correlation between choices and consequences, the principles of responsibility and accountability, and biblical ways to deal with problems and frustrations.

Assess your current methods. The following six questions are designed to get you thinking about how you discipline. As you consider each question, your honest reflection can help you fine-tune your methods — or reassure you that you’re already headed in the right direction.

  1. Have I set clear boundaries in my home?
  2. Are my demands reasonable?

  3. Have I distinguished the difference between defiance and childishness?
  4. Do I use the appropriate correction for each situation?
  5. Do I reassure and teach my child?
  6. Do I keep my cool while carrying out a child’s punishment?

You can find the answers to these questions in the article itself.

In addition, to find out if you and your spouse have the same approach to discipline in your home, you can talking through these scenarios to see where you stand.

Finally, if you (and your spouse) would like to assess your parenting style, you can use my  “Assessing Your Parenting” tool, which is available, for free, here.

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