Discipline: What’s Love Got to Do With It?
In today’s episode, Mama Bare, Marissa D, drops her hask to offer a topic for consideration. How do you make disciplining children work while communicating love?
So, in this episode we touch on why disciplining your children is necessary and how to do it in love.
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Praying for your children shouldn’t feel so complicated…
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Episode 16 transcript
Some people think discipline is a four letter word. I think so too—it’s spelled L. O. V. E.
Hello and welcome to episode 16 of Motherhood Unmasked. Whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re a regular, I’m so glad you’re here.
Today we’re talking about discipline which has never been a sexy topic and if you listen to some parents, anything less than constant affirmation is considered abuse.
But level headed moms, like you, know that discipline, which is NOT synonymous with punishment, is rooted in a love that wants the best for your child.
You want to see them flourish into prospering adults who positively contribute to their family and society at large.
And a task that noble is not the faint of heart, which is why I can appreciate the concern Marissa shares with us today…
“Two things came to mind when I think about motherhood and what I wish I would have been made aware of. Something that I wish I would have known to look into and research would have been the development between infants and toddlerhood. Because that’s where I’m at right now. I have two-year-olds and a five-year-old and just the development of, you know, the stages that they go through and just understanding how their brains developing so that I can serve them better as a mom.
And then number two would be being aware of my discipline choices and when I say that I mean just being aware of how I respond to their actions and making sure that I’m connecting with them and loving them and having a relationship with them before I correct their actions. So those would be my top two things.”
Some of you are in that season with Marissa.
You are FULLY aware your toddlers are not the compliant babies you gushed over. They’ve discovered their will and they’re not afraid to share it.
Others of you, like me, have older kids, but the issue is the same. No one taught us how to navigate these changing tides, how to discipline at different ages and stages.
And while I could talk specifics about age appropriate discipline that takes into account a child’s developmental stage and comprehension, today I’m inviting us to take a step back.
Because before you grapple with how to discipline, it’s important to appreciate its necessity number 1 and 2, what is THE foundational component to your discipline of choice.
So to get us on the same page, I pulled a definition for discipline from Webster’s dictionary.
Its training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.
So correction isn’t just about controlling children, it’s about preparing them for the way of life, since discipline shapes the self-control needed to function as a productive member of society.
And It’s because you love your child that you want him to be great, so we understand why Solomon says a refusal to correct your child is a refusal to love him.
That’s quite the opposite of our culture’s mindset of “live and let live.”
But they also have a special place for people who think what they want, when they want it is all that matters—and they’re not afraid to put folks there.
So while you don’t want to be a willing party to your child’s destruction, you do want to, as Marissa said, correct in a way that communicates love.
And I think you do that in the day in, day out relationship you build with your kids.
So for Marissa, it’s the regular saying I love you, the cuddling and the quality time with her toddlers that gives appropriate context to the moments of discipline that aren’t fun.
Because let’s face it—while discipline is necessary, it’s NEVER fun.
But when your child has an abundance of loving, feel-good experiences with you, when you correct them by making a clear connection between their wrong behavior and the consequence, they can limit the unpleasant experience to that event and understand it happened in the context of love.
They don’t go around believing you hate them when they know discipline is a part of love.
Recently, I looked back through some old journals to prepare for this podcast. They were journals from when my family lived in SC.
Our boys were toddlers and my husband was underway on military assignment for months at a time.
I read so many entries of miserable, draining days.
Raising 3- and 4-year-old boys by yourself in a new place with no family or friends close by is no joke, and from the looks of my journal entries, I screwed up my fair share.
Time after time I wrote about how hard it was to consistently show love and consistently discipline, especially when it didn’t look like things were improving.
I’d end the entry asking the Lord for strategies and strength. And the next day I’d write to thank Him for it.
And I also found an entry from that same time period where I cried because both my boys said I was their best friend.
Girl, I bet they could’ve bought me for a penny that day. Mom-life was rough back then!
But that’s the nature of discipline.
It takes courage and endurance—more so during some stages than others—but if you do your best to do it in love and with the goal in mind, you’ll discipline in ways appropriate and effective for your child.
Today, I can tell you when I look at my guys, now 16 and 15 years old, I don’t remember most of the moments I wrote about.
They are by NO means perfect, but they’re focused, respectful young men who love and honor their parents.
And they can’t imagine why I ever felt like I was failing as a mom.
You know, before you start a family, no one tells you how hard it is to navigate different stages of development and the change in discipline required for each.
There are so many aspects to consider that are unique to each child. And There is no one size fits all approach.
But if you focus on the adult you’re raising her to be and discipline from a place of love, you’ll enjoy a peace as she grows up, that’s worth it.
So, thank you, Marissa, for starting our conversation with a glimpse into your mom journey.
I think the very fact you’re concerned about disciplining your toddlers in a way that still assures them you always love them, shows great wisdom.
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Thanks so much for joining me today and as you enjoy your day, doing your best to discipline in love, remember, when it comes to you being the mother of your children—YOU are the woman for the job! Take care.