Basics of Discipline

Being a parent is the most natural thing in the world in many ways. But there’s a lot to learn as well. At Focus on the Family, we routinely hear from parents who struggle with how and when to discipline their child. If you have questions in that area, keep a few basics in mind.

First, make sure your child understands the rules before you discipline him. If Junior hasn’t been told ahead of time a particular behavior is wrong, cut him some slack.

Second, remember the difference between defiance and a mistake. And if your child’s behavior can be attributed to immaturity or clumsiness, don’t punish him at all. Come alongside him in some way and help him to grow from the experience.

Third, when your child breaks a rule, don’t overreact. Don’t put out a match with a fire hose. Be sure your discipline fits the offense.

And most importantly, stay in control. Never discipline in anger. Unless your child is facing immediate danger, walk away. Address the problem later when your head is clear. Discipline isn’t about tearing a children down. It’s about helping them learn proper boundaries and channeling their abilities in positive ways.

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