What I’ve found in my tenure as a mama, is that at the beginning I would many times be concerned about the way I was seen, when it comes to discipline. Nowadays I could care less about how I am seen by people. I seek more to do a job well done, because my children deserve that.
Disciplining Sounds Like Love
There is a time to be sweet and a time to bring down the law! I have learned that it is not all about disciplining the way that I remember discipline to be. Discipline doesn’t have to be a dirty word and that while I’m disciplining tough it can still sound like love. I can question my children in a way to make them think about what they are doing and how it affects the world, rather than telling them not to or to do X,Y, and Z. There has been great power in letting my little ones think about what they are doing. I question them and help them to talk through how they think they could have said something differently or used their own words.
What Love Is
I recently reread ICorinthians 13:4-8 and was so convicted when I came to the part when it reads “it does not easily anger”. I had found myself in a place where I was constantly annoyed irritated and frustrated all at the same time, ALL THE TIME. I had to remember to take moments, breathe, and use some of the self-talk I have been trying to help my children to use. I realized that if they don’t see me change they never will. That my love had to shine through and that when I struggled with being kind I could share that with them. If I can show them from where I used to be to where I am going, then they will be willing to listen to me in their own struggles on anger humility, and anything else.
Show Love Through Discipline
During moments when hard discipline is necessary I explain to my children that sometimes they need to understand that being tough can be loving. I explain to them that I love them and that if I don’t allow them to understand that they must follow the rules then they will not grow up to be good contributors to society. I kiss them and hug them and let them know that I love them. I follow through with the learning moment, and do what I say. If I choose to show them mercy it is for their positive behavior toward the learning moment and not because they whine. I also explain to them why their sentence has been lifted early.
Allowing Them to Have a Say
There are moments when I have disciplined them and I allow them to have a say. I allow them to tell me that the way that I have disciplined them is fair or unfair and we discuss it. I of course win because I’m the mama, but I have been surprised some times because they had the opportunity to explain to me where they were coming from, why they did what they did, and what was going on in their head. There have been times that what I had thought was not in fact the case and they were shown fairness. The miscommunication was something that I was happy that I had taken the time to evaluate.
Discipline is not a dirty word and needs to be handled with care and as your children grow it will become a little more challenging, but if communication stays open and your child feels that you are seeking to be fair and loving even when you make a mistake it will be ok, you can use that as a learning experience and move on to the next learning experience which more than likely won’t be the same exact scenario!
Hope you have found something useful! Please comment and let me know any struggles you have had with your discipline and how you have overcome it, or how you have chosen to work through it.