Discipline and Encourage


Discipline and Discourage


A great source of confusion in human beings can be generated by the fear of doing wrong. The problem is…we ARE human. We make mistakes. One of the great moments in life is learning not to make the same mistakes twice. If your child is frightened of making mistakes because of the way you react to those mistakes is with anger or physical abuse, you can count on possible permanent damage to the character of that child.

As a parent, you will find that love and support, used in the right manner can have amazing results. In this area of behavior, the ability to be kind when mistakes are made can actually drive a number of different behaviors in a positive direction. Mostly you need to learn that children are supposed to act like children. We are often upset with them when they act like children if you consider their learning curve. If you raise your voice or your hand early in their lives, you can count on fear being a motivating factor in a number of ways. You will discourage their desire to experiment with their abilities and personality that are DNA driven.

Somehow my parents were champions at this. Sure there were stern words when we tested their patience, but before bedtime there were hugs to be had and a gentle “angels watch over you” as we laid in our beds. There must have been something I did off the charts at least one time, because I do remember getting a decent swat on the behind one time as I cowered on my bed. But honestly, that’s all I can remember in the way of physical punishment. If you were smacked around by a parent, I’m sure you can remember the feeling of fear that pervades that time. If you can stop for a moment and realize that you surely would have preferred different treatment, I pray you have found the wisdom to not re-create that horror of body and heart.

The even greater concern is the fear that is generated by the physical act of striking a child puts a marker in the brain that will do anything to not have that happen again. You will diminish the comfort factor that is so necessary in the early years, that allows growth of the heart and soul of a child.   It’s strange that if this happens in an alcoholic home, there is a certain leniency in recrimination in that the “he only does that when he’s drinking” attitude seems to make it acceptable and demon alcohol is at fault. Frankly, that is pathetic. Any excuse for the abuse physically or mentally of a child is criminal behavior and should be dealt with as such. There are enough resources these days to reach out to, including removing the child from a home, that makes anyone not reporting in equally at fault.

I cannot remember striking any of my boys at any time regardless of the circumstance. I did use my parent’s punishment trick…disappointment. With the depth of their caring for us on a daily basis, I have to tell you that the face they made when we stepped out of line was a real killer for me. But like everything else in our lives, the cumulative nature of that feeling was earned by the trust they built by loving us so completely. You could feel the ache inside from upsetting them. It was also what allowed us to reach out to them as we got older and needed a good word of counsel or guidance as well.

Building that path with your heart means that you will have friends for life. It comes down to choosing happiness over fear. As life flies by you will find that if you have maintained the friendship part of your love for your children, it is where you will find the true riches of life. The One Commandment rises once again here in the simple thought of what you would have preferred growing up as a child. If it was fear that was used…what effect did it have on your life and if you could change it…wouldn’t you? Build that trust from day one by using discipline and encouragement and the path your children so richly deserve will lead right back to your heart.





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