Your son forgot to take out the trash. Again. Despite your numerous reminders. So what do you do? Maybe you decide that it’s too late to get into an argument, so you take the trash out yourself. Maybe you get on his case and yell, “I’m taking your phone away from the rest of the year!” Or maybe you start to fight, and he reasons that it isn’t a big deal…that he’ll take the trash out after his TV show ends. And you let it go.
Hit the Pause button for a second. Parents, none of these reactions is correct! And yet, we often handle discipline with our kids in one of these 3 ways: by caving, exaggerating, or losing confidence. So let’s get back on track and talk through alternatives to those reactions—3 C’s to healthy discipline.
1. Be Consistent.
It’s been a long day at work and the last thing you want to do is argue with your son over the chores that he left undone. But consistency is one of the key ingredients in the recipe for how to discipline kids. This means repeatedly encouraging obedience and enforcing punishments when needed. So push through that exhaustion or discouragement and aim for consistency! Because the bottom line is that inconsistent parenting leads to insecurity and instability in our children.
The bottom line is that inconsistent parenting leads to insecurity and instability in our children.
2. Be Careful.
Next, it’s important that we’re careful with our warnings when parenting. Oftentimes we exaggerate with unreasonable punishments we can’t and won’t follow through on. For example, we’ll say things like, “I’m taking away your phone for the rest of the summer” or “If you don’t finish your homework, you’ll have to quit the football team.” We make dramatic statements like this in the moment out of anger and frustration—not realizing the repercussions of not following through on our word. So when warning your kids of potential consequences, be firm and fair.
3. Be Confident.
Finally, we must be confident in our parenting and discipline. Each and every day, we face unique situations that call for unique parenting. But it’s important that we have general rules and expectations that embrace any event. Because the moment we stop to question if our standards are right, our kids can sense it. They sense our weakness and know when to push for their way. This is the moment we’re called to be confident! Don’t waver in your parenting and discipline. Instead, recognize that you’re the adult and know what’s best. How do you tend to respond to your child’s disobedience?
How do you tend to respond to your child’s disobedience?