One of the most difficult challenges and hotly contested issues when it comes to parenting is discipline. I mean people get radically passionate when it comes to their favorite method of discipline. And I get being passionate about your kids, trust me, I’m drop dead crazy about the three God has entrusted to me. But I’ve got to be honest and admit that it’s almost comical how people turn into zealots when this topic comes up, especially in “Church-World.” In my opinion effective discipline is just not as complicated as we’ve made it. Effective discipline has far more to do with consistency, follow through, and planning than anything else. Do the actual methods, style, and attitude matter? Sure they do. But not nearly as much as consistency, follow through, and planning. Without turning this into a 5 part post or a book to prove my point, let me just share one small quote here with you.
When asked what they believe the most common mistake made by American parents is, the top answer given by children who were grown and out of the house was: “failing to identify and enforce a schedule of rules.” Barna Research Group
Do the same thing over, and over, and over again. If you do this your kids will feel safe. Don’t do this and they won’t know what to expect from you and their heart will lean towards fear.
Do what you say you’re going to do. There is no quicker way to build insecurity into the heart of your children than not doing what you say you’re going to do.
Decide what you’re going to do before you do it. In the heat of the moment if you don’t have a preconceived idea as to how you are going to respond chances are, you’ll react in a fashion that won’t help the situation.
So understanding that being consistent, following through and planning ahead of time is no easy task when it comes to discipline, a few years ago when I picked up this discipline checklist from Jim Burns I knew immediately that it was something that I was going to hold onto. It’s been a great resource and tool that I’ve taken out to reference over and over again and my guess is that if your kids are stubborn little sinners like mine, you’ll probably find it helpful too.
The Ultimate Discipline Checklist
1. The behavior I want to change is…
2. How might I be feeding or enabling the problem behavior?
3. Will I give my child a choice or is the behavior change a must?
4. My clearly stated rule is…
5. The consequences for not following this rule are…
6. My follow-through will be…
7. Will I be consistent, no matter what it takes, in enforcing the consequences?
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