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Saturday, April 16, 2011

LXII. Whip it. Whip it good.

How do you teach someone to do the right thing?  The best way is to BE the example not just set and example, which usually only involves the now overused term "teaching moments".  Instead of just telling someone how to do things in the right (moral) way, one should ALWAYS be DOING the right thing to show someone how to do the right thing.  But, alas, no one in perfect so other methods are needed to intervene, and that would include discipline.

Discipline needs to start at an early age.  From the day that you become a parent, or guardian, is the day that you need to live your example.  Too many times parents want to be friends with their children, or they just want their children to like them.  They want to be the cool parent that their child will want to hang out with and will want to tell their own friends about how cool they are.  Of course that is part of the times we live in.  People are more worried about their reputation than they are about character.  Then when the child starts to make their own decisions and they make one the parent really doesn't agree with, and the parent tries to intervene but the child rebels, the parent wonders what happened and why they can't control the child anymore.  Well, here is a secret.  If this is the way they raised their child, they never had control to begin with.  If you have not established that you are the parent by the time they are 10 years old, forget it, you lost this battle.  One of the greatest things you can do with a child is to give them some kind of morality system to live by.  Make friends of your own age.  Be the parent.

Discipline allows a young child to understand that we all have consequences in our lives.  Everything we do has either a positive and/or negative impact on our own lives and on the lives that surround us, either directly or indirectly.  Sometimes things we do cause pain in other's lives.  If we understand what pain is then we will be less likely to inflict it upon others.  This is not to say we automatically cause pain in a child's life to teach them.  But they need to understand that we do not get away with everything pain-free.  Wrong actions deserve punishment.

Proverbs 22:6 says, Train a child in the way he should go,and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Discipline comes in many forms.  Some only need a stern lecture (not many by the way) and they will not doing anything else.  Some need limitations set in their life.  Some need physical intervention.  Some need all three.  Spanking a child is a legitimate way of disciplining a child.
Here are the results of the last poll:  Should parents spank their children?
  • (35%)  Said Yes. It is very effective and there is nothing wrong with it.  However, keep in mind that spanking is not beating a child.  The butt is soft for a reason.  It is meant to absorb a spanking.  The face was not.  The face was meant to absorb affection.  The hand was meant to absorb the pain of helping others.  The feet were meant to absorb the pain of going the extra mile.  But the butt was meant to absorb the pain of being disciplined, not beaten!
  • (30%)  Said yes. But only as a last resort.  Perhaps this is the best answer.  Other methods should be used first.  This allows the child to understand that violence should never be the first step to any situation.  It allows the child to know that you are a person that can reason through a situation.  This is not to be confused with "reasoning with a child" to allow them to get their way.  It also allows the child to understand that some things can be carried out too far.
  • (10%)  Said no. But the threat should be there.  What good is a threat if you are not willing to use it.  Wishy-washy.  This sends the wrong signal.
  • (15%)  Said no. It may send too many mixed signals about violence.  Only if you hit on areas besides the butt.  Only if you do it out of anger.  Only if you do it excessively.  Only if you do it in a way that isn't needed.
  • (10%)  Said no. It is abusive.  Then you get what you deserve.  If your child disobeys you and you can't do a thing about it, tough luck.  If they are perfect in this way, be thankful.
  • (0%)  Said other.  Again, what does this mean?

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