7 Foundational Principles Of Tried-and-True Discipline


As you stroll through your grocery store; you often have the chance to choose between generic and name brand items.  Most of the time the ingredients are similar, it’s just the packaging that’s different.

Well, after almost two decades of reading, reviewing and analyzing numerous books on parenting, I can tell you with confidence that although the titles and packaging are different, the ingredients are often the same.  So I’ve done some comparison shopping for you.  I’ve looked beyond the packaging and sorted through the ingredients of various books and publications, as well as my own “ingredients,” to bring you these 7 proven, tried-and-true principles of discipline.

1. Unified Discipline

You need to agree on how you will discipline your children—ahead of time.  If a new situation arises, talk privately first and come to agreement—before you approach your children.  Show your kids you’re unified, it’s easier for you, and much better for them.

2. Uniform Discipline

If you have more than one child, be sure to apply these principles of discipline across the board.  Don’t show favoritism.  Of course, each child is unique, and must be uniquely disciplined, but these general principles should still apply to all children.

3. Consistent Discipline

What’s the hardest thing about disciplining your kids?  If you’re like most parents it’s consistency.  You can read all the books in the world and have dozens of great ideas, but if you’re not consistent they won’t work.  I’ll admit it, being consistent is tough.  Sometimes it’s easier to just let the kids get away with something rather than sticking to your plan.  Consistency pays off in the long run.  It helps our children to know what to expect.

4. Firm Discipline

Some parents think that the only way to get children to obey is to be harsh with angry words or a raised voice.  But children respond better to a firm authoritative tone.

5. Private Discipline

Never discipline in public.  Nothing is more humiliating and degrading to a child than disciplining them in the grocery store, at the pool, at school or other public places.  If your child misbehaves in public, let them know that they will be disciplined when they get home. Then, be sure to follow through.

6. Non-negotiable Discipline

Don’t negotiate consequences.  Establish clear, non-negotiable consequences for misbehavior—then stick to them.

7. Positive Discipline

Disciplining should never involve personal attacks.  Never call your children names or label them “stupid,” “lazy,” or “mean.”  Don’t say things like, “How could you do something so dumb?”  “Why can’t you ever behave?”  Never compare them to their siblings or to other children. Remember, the ultimate goal of discipline is a positive one—to make disciples.

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