“If you love your children, you will correct them; if you don’t love them, you won’t correct them.”
Our goal as parents should not be to raise “good” kids. Our goal should be to raise responsible adults. I know that “discipline” is kind of a bad word in our society where children are involved. If you look at the meaning of word, however, you will learn that it means “to train.” Parents are responsible for training their children so that they can function in society.
A question that I am often asked by new parents is, “How young do you start disciplining children?” I believe that as soon as they start showing defiance, throwing tantrums, and ignoring the “No,” of their parents, they need a good dose of loving discipline. Our goal as parents is to mold their will to the point that they will do what we say without us having to raise our voices. Look, I have done my share of yelling at my kids as they were growing up. Parents are human. They lose their tempers and get angry. The goal, however, is still the same: Get them to obey the first time they are told to do something.
Another question that I am often asked is, “Should I spank a young child?” I am a big fan of loving corporal punishment applied when children are willfully disobedient, throwing tantrums, or ignoring a parental, “No.” I understand that many parents prefer not to spank. That is fine, as long as they have some method of discipline that works. I found with my children, especially when they were young, spankings worked well. Again, if you do not want to spank your children that is a personal choice. The main issue is that you have a clearly defined method that you are going to use to discipline/train your kids.
Another question that I have been asked is, “Is spanking even legal? Am I going to get arrested if I spank my child?” Most states in the United States still allow corporal punishment. This question only becomes an issue if the spanking becomes excessive and injures the child. Remember, “discipline” means “to train.” Punishment is usually the result of anger. Discipline comes from love. I have been in Law Enforcement for almost thirty years. I have never seen a parent arrested for spanking their child.
In Part Four, I will give a few suggestions on disciplining older children…