I’m going to do us both a favor this week and keep the blog super short and to the point. This week between Christmas and New Years is always much busier than I think it’s going to be and flies by. If your week has been anything like mine, you’ll appreciate a quick read. But if you need a little more guidance on today’s topic, don’t hesitate to schedule a discovery call.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked about parenting our children as God parents us, specifically through building relationships with our kids, creating reasonable expectations, and communicating reminders in various ways and at strategic times. You might be wondering where discipline comes into the equation. Something I’ve learned about God over the many years I’ve tried to walk with Him, is that He is able to perfectly balance seemingly opposite characteristics, such as justice and mercy. This principle carries through to his discipline and gives us an example to follow. There are examples of this throughout the entirety of Scripture, so it’s difficult to pinpoint any one story, but if you take the arc of the entire biblical narrative into consideration, these basic principles are displayed time and again throughout God’s relationship with His people.
Respond rather than react. Take a moment to pray and think rationally rather than just reacting emotionally on impulse. Ignore the behavior if it isn’t dangerous or destructive or one of your SMART goals. Remind the child they have a choice between obeying or choosing the consequence.
Correct rather than criticize. Criticizing simply points out what went wrong and leads to shame. Correcting takes time to train the desired behaviors, even practicing them through role playing.
Praise progress as often as possible, even if it’s just small improvements. We are wired to remember criticism more than praise, so we need a whole lot more praise than criticism. And praise releases dopamine, making a child more likely to repeat the positive behavior. A small reward (a sticker, stamp or temporary tattoo, or a note are often enough) may be even more effective for certain children.
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