The Parent-Child Relationship
The parent-child relationship is fundamental to the success of the discipline process. It provides the foundation upon which a child is instructed, affirmed and corrected. The relationship will greatly influence the child’s interpretation of her parents’ disciplinary actions and intentions. From birth, the relationship will develop and mature for better or for worse. Its health will be influenced by several factors and transitions within the relationship.
A healthy relationship 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 building the relationship with your child from the beginning!
The other three areas of the discipline process: