When you hear the word ‘Discipline’, what comes to mind?

I would say that spanking, timeout and punishment would fall amongst the top 3 items. Very seldom do I hear someone say that the word ‘Disciple’ sits on the tip of their tongue, yet as parents that is at the very core of what we are doing. We disciple children to become adults just as Christ discipled the disciples to become adult-like in their Christianity. As a blended family we can face a lot of frustration when we aren’t clear of our goal to discipline or disciple the children.

I remember when I first realized that my husband and I had totally different discipline styles. It was after my son had gotten into trouble and my husband was determined to handle it one way and I wanted to handle it a completely different way. The result was it going unhandled since we couldn’t agree. That was detrimental. It was then that I began to realize we were both trying to parent the way we had been parented. Although both of our parents parented us the best way they knew how, they did it completely different. That said, when the two completely different styles came together in our home, overcoming the hurdle of which style worked best was a major challenge.

One day we decided to take a parenting class together at our church. We had no idea what to expect from the class but it was worth trying since parenting had become our greatest challenge in the marriage. In the class, they discussed many topics such as how to parent intentionally, how to establish a value and moral system within the home and most important to us at the time, how to create YOUR unique style of discipline.

The class couldn’t have been offered at a better time in our journey.

We realized that we had been so busy trying to implement our parent’s style of parenting into our home that we weren’t finding the style that worked best for OUR home. We quickly decided to revisit the topic of discipline and went down the line of our children to decide what style of discipline would work best for which child. Although we revisit and revise this often, we have a basic guide that we use when determining how to handle situations that need a disciplinary response. We consider, “Will they learn not to do it again if we handle it this way? “ Simple yet effective.

We try to focus on Discipleship not Discipline and although we aren’t perfect, we try our best to stick to it. Getting caught up in punishment for punishment’s sake will not produce an understanding of right from wrong nor a desire to do right. We have learned that if what we are doing isn’t changing the behavior, then it’s time to think outside the box. We have come up with some creative ways to get points across that have had positive lasting impressions on all the children in the household.

So what’s next for you?  I would like to encourage you to sit down and develop your family’s style of discipling. There is nothing more rewarding than a child that has learned a lesson that changes their behavior into adulthood. You can change the direction of your parenting by making discipleship your parenting focus.