Disciplining Your Child

Of course every child is different. After all, how boring would the world be if everyone was exactly the same? I’d venture

to say it’d be quite boring! Since every child is different, so should your disciple tactics and rules for your child.

Denise Witmer wrote an article titled 3 Reasons Why Parents Shouldn’t Use Scare Tactics. Her reasons are these:

  • Scare tactics simply do not work on teens
    Meaningless consequences don’t do anything to teach a child a lesson…

  • You lose the respect of your teen
  • Using scare tactics undermines your credibility

I think these are credible reasons; however, I believe that using the scare tactic can and is useful when used appropriately, definitely not all of the time, and shouldn’t be used for really big issues. However, if you actually follow through with the ‘scare,’ then your child may realize that when you do use this tactic that you mean business. But, if you use it a lot and never follow through, then I think the above reasons do and will apply.

In another article by Denise Witmer titled 3 Reasons Why Your Teen Needs Fair and Firm Discipline, she lists the following reasons:

  • Fair and firm discipline allows your teen to feel safe
  • Fair and firm discipline allows your teen to take responsibility for their actions
  • Fair and firm discipline teaches respect for adults and those in authority

I think she hits the nail on the head with these reasons. Children are actually drawn to structure, discipline, rules, etc. because this is what makes them feel safe and secure because they know what is going to happen and why. Stability in any child’s life, especially when there are disruptions (i.e. divorce, a move, etc.), will help them feel better about the situation because they will have that stability to fall back on.

In addition, we must set limits, rules, and expectations for our children starting at a very young age, such as when they start crawling. Denise Witmer, in her article titled Tips on Setting Limits & Rules, shares five ways to set the limits and rules with your child (especially teenagers). These include:

  • Communicate the limits
  • Let your teen have a say
  • Be consistent – this is a HUGE one for me because most parents aren’t consistent
  • Be fair
  • Don’t forget your values

These are all great ways to set the limits and rules with your child. Keep in mind that your child must experience life, too. You can’t shut them in forever. You really do have to let them fall, get hurt, fail, and make mistakes so that they can learn from what they’ve done and become better people for it. I know it’s hard to watch your child do any of these things. All you want to do is hold them and protect them from harm. But, you can’t do that forever, so the more experiences they have as a child and teenager, the better off they’ll be as adults.

Do you tend to coddle your children, or do you let them make mistakes so they can learn from them? Do you think you are helping or hurting your child by doing this?

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