Disciplining Children: Making Good Rules – Part Two

“Then God spoke all these words, saying…” Exodus 20:1

Helpful guideline #1 was to set clear boundaries and limits.  Let’s continue from there.

#2 Avoid unannounced or arbitrary (random) rules.

Parents should avoid disciplining children for something about which they knew nothing.  This usually happens because parents think that their children should inherently know certain things forgetting that they are still children.

For example, a child begins to run into the street.  You yell at them and verbally discipline them.  Seeing how dangerous it was, a parent may even spank the child.  However, you failed to tell them in advance that they should not run into the street.  Therefore, they should be informed and not disciplined.

When God dealt with His children, He laid out the Ten Commandments.  He informed His children of His expectations.  Our Heavenly Parent doesn’t act in unannounced or arbitrary ways when it comes to rules by which to live.

#3 Make sure they understand the rules and guidelines.

It’s one thing to make rules and guidelines, it’s another thing altogether whether or not your children understand them.  It does little good to tell your six month old child to refrain from touching an operating fan when they don’t even understand the English language yet.

If your children are old enough to understand, talk to them.  If they are too young to understand words, demonstrate what you want.  If you can’t do either, then you shouldn’t discipline them. 

#4 Keep the rules simple and few.

God did not give us the Ten Thousand Commandments, He gave us ten.  The Bible then gives further details emanating from the ten, but it all boils down to ten.

If I were to post the 1,000 Rules and Regulations of the Ishida family, I highly doubt it would be very effective.  My kids wouldn’t know all of them and I would forget most of them. 

Figure out what is important to the vision and values you are trying to establish in your children and go from there.

Here’s a helpful hint.  Ignore minor infractions.  Often times, ignoring negative behavior can make it go away.  If it doesn’t and begins to escalate into something bigger, then deal with it.

Getting upset over every minor infraction can discourage children or can become an attention-getter for them.

So, avoid unannounced or arbitrary rules, make sure your children understand the rules and regulations, and keep the rules simple and few.

Something to think about…