November 11, 2001
Rasin the lil Darlins
I have been a parent of natural, adopted and foster children for over 20 years and the one thing I can say with any type of certainty and assurance is that discipline works. I am a firm believer in the words of Proverb 13:24:
He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly
Many folks take this out of context to many times. They believe it is a recipe for physical discipline such as the dreaded spanking. While this has its place, it is not always the case. Many times discipline takes on the form of verbal communication. Other times spanking is the only option that will effectively communicate to a child that their actions are wholly unacceptable. I understand that there are many parents who disagree but I can only say it has worked for me. One thing in my mind is true:
1. If you discipline without love your child will hate you.
2.If you love without discipline without love your child will never learn to respect you.
I especially espouse the second statement. If you show your child that you will not effectively discipline him or her, your child will come to believe that you will always be open to vacillation. Youll cave in and never make a stand on any issue.
The other day I happened to see a pycho-babbler telling parents and kids as young as twelve that the parent needs to relinquish control as the child reaches adolescence. He went on to say that the parent must act the role of counselor or advisor. Now I thought about this for a while and I said to myself that all right I could be an advisor because thats part of being a parent (that is to say to give advice) but I will not relinquish my authority over my child. I can ease control, and lift certain restrictions that were once in place, but relinquish is another matter. Then I replayed the sentence in my mind again, and noticed the word reaches. This made me think in terms of preceding adolescence. So the psycho-babbler was telling me to give up control before, my child reaches puberty? I looked up the word relinquish in the dictionary and found the following meaning:
To renounce or surrender (property or a right)
So the so-called expert is telling me to surrender my rights as a parent to a 7-year-old! This is modern day parenting?
Okay, point number two. Most kids hardly ever even take the advice of their parents (heck I know I didnt), so how can I advise them if theyre not going to listen to my counsel to begin with?
So lets sum this up. The expert is telling me to act in a capacity that reduces my role as a parent and expects me to transfer authority of a childs life to the child himself. Yeah that'll surely work. The one thing that almost ALWAYS seems to be true about experts is that they SELDOM have ANY children of their own!
Now for my favorite psychobabble term, the dreaded time out also known as a T.O. I have yet to see any child effectively disciplined by the time out theory. It has occurred to me that most kids use the time out not to reflect on any wrongdoing but instead gives them the time out to think about what they are going to do next. In most cases the child sits and whines incessantly about how unfair this is to him.
I believe that discipline with love is still the most effective method solely because it is swift and decisive. It sends a message to the child that hes done something wrong and that punishment is a consequence of bad actions. Once the punishment is given, and again I say it is not always a spanking, then and only then can discussion comes as to why this action taken by the child was wrong and as to why correction was needed.
As I have mentioned this is not to be equated with abuse. I do not suggest here that a child be beaten. There is a vast difference between a spanking as a tool for corrective action, and a beating. I have never beaten a child, nor will I ever. I will however to continue to use a spanking as a means of corrective behavior management. I caution you to use it only when a situation absolutely warrants it. Such as the little child that attempts stick the old knife in a light socket. I might add here that as a child starts to get closer and closer to adolescence the need for this form of discipline becomes fewer and farther apart. The child begins to become more open to corrective discipline in the form of verbal advice or suggestions that certain actions will produce certain results. Many a child has been saved a ton of heartache by just listening to their parents explain their own mistakes and how they ended up learning from them.
In this world today, there are already so many tray areas in peoples behavior. Parents for the sake of your child, take a stand, and draw the line. Let your child know that youll not tolerate certain types of behavior.
One final thought on this topic. I would suggest that all parents read, Dare to Discipline by Dr. James Dobson. You will find it instructional as well as inspirational. He will explain in much better words than I ever could the concept of strong discipline.