Monday, April 6, 2009

12) Dare to Discipline

"Discipline is inevitable. If it does not come from within the man, it will be imposed from without." David Grayson

'Discipline' comes from the Latin word 'discipulus', which means 'to learn', akin to
'to teach'.

Discipline follows Example and Parental Instructions (Please refer to posts 8,9,10,11). The child sometimes rejects the person administering discipline, which makes it a risky task. Yet parents cannot absolve themselves of the responsibility. When they neglect or forsake such duties, school authorities will take over; and in later life, society and the Law will rather painfully carry out sentences that inflict punishment. Dr James Dobson, in his popular book, 'Dare to Discipline', draws a profound conclusion: 'Discipline is something you do for a child, and not to a child'. It is the loving purpose(and not the anger)which makes the difference between discipline and punishment. Children who have been lovingly disciplined, rather than arbitrarily punished, rarely look back in anger at the times they received some physical correction from loving parents. They get the message that
'limits' have to be set, since 'tough love' opposes the status quo. And they do not flinch from disciplining their own children, when it is their turn, because 'what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?' Hebrews:12-7.

Disciplining need not only mean physical correction, depriving the child of TV time,
access to toys or holding back some food which the child enjoys. It can be constructive, like: getting the child to read certain passages(based on the age of the child)and summarize them for the family at suppertime; getting the child to write a few lines on why he thinks he was disciplined; running a short errand, which he normally avoids; doing a chore at home, which is usually done by someone else;
finding the meaning of words, not necessarily from the dictionary, but by asking elders for the meanings; working on a brain-teaser like a riddle or a problem;
performing a task for a sibling; memorizing a short poem; cutting 15 minutes of playtime to add to study time and so on. The list is limited only by the creative urges of the parents. Constructive disciplining has its merits, one of which is obedience born of respect not terror.

Some children rebel against disciplining because of their insecurity. Deep down, they are uncertain of parental love. That is why a child must grow up completely
secure in the feeling that he is loved for what he is, and not what he can be.
A wise mother cautions: "Imagine the child to be a kite. Let him fly, but hold on to the string".

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