When to Start Disciplining a Child? | Fatherhood Series Ep.14

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When I say I was the most disciplined child in my house as a kid please rest assure that I do not mean that I was the most well behaved child. I literally mean I was the child who was being disciplined the most. It's true that I was a naughty little child but I have vivid memories of being chastised for my actions within the safety of my parents love. 

Why do I associate my younger years of chastisement with love? Well as an adult I'm aware that there are boundaries within the broader world and within various communities that I will naturally be apart as I journey through life.

However the consequence for over stepping those boundaries will not only affect others negatively within our communities but could have very damaging repercussions for myself and my future. So I believe it's important for a child to be taught how to manage their freedoms, boundaries and their response to the repercussions of their actions within the confines of their parents unconditional love.      

When parents are not the first people to introduce the concept of discipline to their child's life they are often setting their children up for a nasty shock. School teachers will be a lot quicker to enforce concerns, punishment and labels that your child may find very difficult to shake off and the police will be no different.

So it is definitely our responsibility to equip our children with essential life skills and instil enriching characteristics that help to prepare them as best as possible for healthy independent experiences as they mature into adulthood.

As vivid as my memories of receiving chastisement are, it's hard to trace back when this process actually started. If we think about it, the process of being disciplined often starts way before we can even remember it.

Whilst we know the importance of discipline, it can easily become quite pointless if your child is not aware of the purpose of discipline or the process that leads up to their consequence. It's important that we find a way to introduce this concept to our children gradually and that's why it's often better to start this process with your child as young as possible.

By definition, discipline means to train someone to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience. Unfortunately nowadays I seldom hear of parents enforcing the punishment element of this double sided coin.  

When a parent starts to discipline their child, a few key elements should be put in place to ensure the child understands the reasoning, process and benefit to your actions. 

Test Your Child's Understanding

Testing your child's level of understanding will be a key indicator to whether they need disciplining or simply further training. Without testing your child's understanding, it's impossible to tell whether a child is acting out of disobedience or out of a lack of knowledge. It's important to get a good gage on this as a different approach is required for each situation. 

Give Your Child A Routine 

This is a great way to help instil a sense of pride and responsibility for achieving the tasks you set them, whilst building character within your child. In life there will be an ever growing expectation that will be required of your child and instilling a sense of routine and responsibility will help prepare your child to meet life's expectations 

Implement Boundaries And Consequences

However you look at it, one way or another your children WILL be disciplined. Whether it's by the educational system, a random guy on the street or (most likely) the Police.

This why following through with the consequences you have put in place is one of the best things you can do for your child. Your ability to do this can develop your child into an adult who responds well to rules, with the capability to become a positive contribution to the world that they live in. 



Can discipline start within the first year of a child's life?

What did discipline look like when you were a child and how does it differ to what you do now?

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