Devotion to Parenting
Successful child-rearing requires significant devotion to your child. During infancy devotion comes naturally as you are frequently feeding your newborn, changing diapers, responding to crying, and learning how to understand and meet your baby’s many needs. As the child enters toddlerhood and is a bit more self-sufficient, your devotion can begin to subtly decrease and take the form of reactive rather than proactive attention. For instance, you may respond to his mischievous writing on the wall or the destruction of a toy, while not showing attention to his polite behavior at the grocery store. Here you have responded (reactively) out of need, rather than responding (proactively) out of desire to teach and affirm your child.
Proactive parenting requires devotion to teaching and training the child. This involves thinking ahead, reading about child discipline, talking with your spouse about your child’s behavior, consulting mentors who have older children, and planning how you will respond the next time your child misbehaves or correctly behaves. Remember that you are ultimately teaching your child’s heart, not simply training his behavior.
In the school age years, your child needs you to be available. Available to talk, to question, to correct, to affirm, to oversee his behavior, and to reassure him of your unconditional love for him. Availability requires devotion. During these years your availability may not always be immediate, but it should be trustworthy and consistent.
Devotion to the disciplinary process of your child will yield great results as he or she gets ages and matures. If correction of your child is consistent in the early years, it will be infrequently needed during the adolescent years. It’s like the saying, “Pay me now or pay me later.” If you ignore the discipline process early on, then you will need to invest much more energy and time later in your child’s life to correct the heart problems.
Be devoted to the discipline of your child from the beginning!
The other three areas of the discipline process: