All that can be taught when we get angry and punish our children with harsh words or physical punishment, is that we believe that is an appropriate approach to difficulties. It is not. Violence only leads to more violence.
Children need more than food, shelter and clothing from the significant males in their lives. They need to know they are accepted and taught with kind discipline until they can learn to practice self discipline.They need to learn to solve problems in a safe environment.
Discipline versus Punishment
Discipline comes from the word disciple and means to teach, lead, guide and mentor. It is a mutually respectful way to build relationships and foster growth in children and all relationships. You discipline a child by telling him you are concerned about his unacceptable behavior and want to work with him to find other ways to handle life. In other words, you want to teach him/her acceptable behavior and how to achieve it. It is not an attack on his soul or identity.
Punishment is harsh, punitive act that may stop the behavior momentarily but has not taught a suitable way to encourage positive action.
Some of the descriptions in my Thesaurus for punishment are;
- correction, reproof, penalty,
- infliction, suffering, deprivation
- unhappiness, trial, penance
- retribution, mortification, disciplinary action
- fine, reparation, forfeiture, confiscation
Do those descriptions make you cringe? Do you remember being punished as a child? Was it a humiliating experience? Do you love the one who handed out that harsh punishment? Or did you fear them and resent the power they had over you and your life?
Dads Need to Lead by Example and Guidance
As I travel throughout the country giving parenting and relationship classes, I hear many males say they hunger to build connections with their children. Most also say they hungered for that relationship with their own father, but did not know how to build it.
One father told me that the only time his dad hugged him was when he hit a home run. He wanted someone who would teach him the ropes of manhood. He wanted external boundaries and to taught how to build inner boundaries and responsibility.
They wanted someone to teach them what to do, not punish them for what they did wrong.
Male Role Models Needed by Both Genders
An uncle, grandpa, coach, teacher, minister, dad or step-dad have a sacred trust to nourish the soul of the child. Girls need to know that men are kind and loving. Boys need to learn how to function in relationships with respect.
If you grew up thinking that discipline was the same as punishment, then please have a shift in your thinking. This is not a path that builds strong relationships and bonds with love. As parents we should consider ourselves more as guides and teachers rather than wardens or commanding officers.
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(c) Judy Helm Wright, author and keynote speaker on family relationship issues. http://www.ArtichokePress.com Contact us today at 406-549-9813