01 February 2012

Bringing Up Boys: "Disciplining Boys"

This is Mark.  He's 2 1/2.  He's my youngest.  He's my only boy.  And I am truly, head over heals, in love with him.  He is the action figure of his Daddy and the little guy who makes us all smile.  He wears hats regularly, has gorgeous red hair, blue eyes, and the fairest of fair skin.  He is 25%...on the tiny side for his age, but very scoop-able and cuddly.  Julia (his 4 year old sister and charming admirer) dote on him incessantly, and his father, well, he just gets a kick out of his son.  Who can blame him?

Today we take a look at Chapter 16 in Bringing up Boys by James Dobson.  If you are just joining my Book Club Wednesday for the first time check out this post which will catch you up on the last 3 chapters.

Here are today's bullet points:

* children need firm but loving discipline
* kids like to challenge authority (duh)
* rules at home need to prevail out of doors (like in the grocery store)
* parents need to be confident and show loving discipline
*teach children respect and authority...teach not expect they already know
*today's parents are more lax and permissive (double duh)
*parents expect their children to be self-disciplined
*it is OUR job to shape and mold our children's minds

"Shaping and molding young minds is a product of careful and diligent parental leadership.  You can be sure it requires great effort and patience."--Dobson

Hence, why at the end of the day I am literally EXHAUSTED.  Because teaching and training and molding your children into the people God would have them to be takes a lot of work, wisdom and loads and loads of patience.  Whenever anyone asks me what my prayer request is it is usually for my husband or wisdom in rearing my children, and for PATIENCE.

And we've all been to the grocery store or the library and have seen parents NOT show loving discipline by either totally ignoring bad behavior from their kids (I once watched a child hit her mom during story time and the mother never said one word!) or screaming and belittling their child.  It's almost as if there's a wide spectrum of how to discipline or not to at all.

My husband and I recently watched a video on a discipline tactic to use with your children which includes counting and a time out, and it has worked wonders.  It's called Magic 1-2-3, and we highly recommend it.  Do you ever feel like a broken record giving the same lecture about why it's not nice to hit your sister, or interrupt mom on the phone, or how we share with our friends?  Yes, it gets old real fast.  The same lecture over and over.  Well, guess what? It gets old real fast for little Johnny and Sally too, and chances are if you've said it once or twice they've heard it 3 million times.  So now the minute the behavior pops up we say in a calm voice, "That's one."  then they have 5 seconds to shape up or "That's two." and another five seconds, "That's three you need a time out." (and the time out depends on their age...Julia gets 4 minutes because she's 4 and Mark gets 2 minutes because he's 2.) Afterwards its apology and get back in the game mentality "all is forgiven"...but you know what?  Mom and Dad are not exhausted from over talking, Julia and Mark KNOW what is expected...and we very rarely ever get to 2 or 3 because the negative behavior stops.  Now of course there are exceptions, (you don't get 3 chances to hit someone, that's an immediate time out) and if something is brand new then a discussion is of course warranted because the behavior has never been seen before and the child might not have known it was wrong or not acceptable.

But firm, loving and CONSISTENT discipline is always appreciated by kids because they know what is expected and they know what mom and dad's expectations were.  We are so thankful for Debi H. sharing that video with us in December it really changed our discipline style.

What saddens me by this chapter is what I have seen in the classroom as a teacher.  And this is the problem where parents just expect their kids to know how to do things that they have never been taught.  It is so unfair.  I pray that I will be a parent that even if it takes extra time and patience and lots of prayer that I will still take the time to model and show and explain how to do the things I expect from my children.  I can remember during parent teacher conferences where parents would be shocked that their child was doing poorly in a subject (which I was always shocked by since I sent papers home weekly to be signed and returned) and then the parent would say, "Well I TOLD them to go in their room and study!"  To which I would say, "Third graders don't know HOW to study.  We have to model it for them."  You can't just send your child to their room and expect them to "man up" or "be an adult" and do something they have never learned.  It takes time.  It takes practice.  It takes mom and dad sitting on the bed practicing with flash cards, quizzing spelling words, listening to speeches.

Our kids NEED our time and energy.  I know it's hard and tiring, and we want them to be smart and independent and just know what to do and when to do it, but we need to be alongside them guiding, teaching and instructing.  Even if our children are in school and they have teachers, WE are STILL their teachers!  And we as parents KNOW them best!  God promises to give us all the tools we need if we ask.  We can't be afraid to be parents.  We have to be confident and loving.

I love the verse in 2 Timothy 1: 7 (It's our MOPS theme verse this year too) "God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible." 2 Timothy 1:7  
God doesn't want us to be shy, timid parents.  We brought these children into the world! He wants us to be bold, loving, and sensible!!!  We are the authority figures and our tone, our behavior, our actions are being carefully observed each day, so we need to also practice what we preach.  Are we kind?  Are we loving? Do we share?

"There's a time for affirmation, tenderness and love.  They nourish the spirit and seal the bond between generations.  But there's also a time for discipline and punishment.  Moms and dads who try to be eternally positive, ignoring irresponsibility or defiance in their children, fail to teach them that behavior has consequences.  But beware! Parents who are continually punitive and accusatory can create serious behavioral and emotional problems."--Dobson
As wise parents we need to ask God to help us and guide us on our disciplining journey.  I used to hear teachers say, "I love teaching but I hate the discipline problems."  But you know what the discipline problems are OUR job, because we are molding and shaping young minds.  It's the number one job of every parent and teacher...disciplining cannot be ignored.  But we need balance disciplining.

Dobson ended the chapter by commenting on how chores and allowance are good ways of teaching your children responsibility and also bringing your child to work to see what it is like.  I can just picture now John taking Mark to work one day...and I know Mark will be amazed at all the sights and sounds of NYC...but he will also be watching to see how Daddy treats his co-workers, how hard he works, and how well he provides for his family.  Dobson stresses that we need to give our children a taste of the real world.  Don't let them sit in front of tv or play video games all day, let them experience reality.

Hope you found this chapter helpful! Next Wedensday is our last chapter and it's called The Ultimate Priority!

*** Another blog I would like for you to stop by and visit is: The Excellent Wife...she is amazing!  A godly wife and godly mother. http://theexcellentwife.com/



  1. I am a new follower of yours and LOVE reading your writing :) It was also hard for me as a classroom teacher to have students who were never taught (by their parents or previous teachers) the link between their choices and consequences for those choices (this is something that society as a whole needs to be reminded of but that is another story!) I did my best to teach my students that their positive choices resulted in positive consequences. Like paying attention in class and studying for a test means you earn a good grade. I could go on and on with stories about trying to teach this lesson to my students. But I wont (maybe I will have to write my own post on this topic!) Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your thoughts, and that your children are blessed with a wonderful mamma :)

  2. Thank you so much!!!!! You are the best!

  3. Excellent Kristi! Confident and loving...so true! xoxo C


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