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Understand the difference between punishment and discipline.
A child’s obedience is a function of the co-regulation between the parent and with the child. Co-regulation creates a secure base. A secure base influences obedience. A secure base creates positive neurological feedback loops and positive conditioning. Lack of co-regulation between parents causes children to react out of fear. So parents, if you’re dys-regulated, then don’t expect your children to be obedient. When you are dys-regulated, God doesn’t get upset with you. He doesn’t put you in time out. He is there for you regardless of your state of regulation. This is the model you need to follow with your children. Unfortunately there has been a blurring of definitions and lack of understanding of expectations. Punishment is used and is expected to get the results of discipline. Isn’t it more sociably acceptable to say that you’re “disciplining” your child rather than punishing him? I have found that most parents believe punishment and discipline are synonymous. Also, parents don’t truly understand what a natural consequence means.
Read more on punishment and discipline in my April & May 2011 Love in Action Newsletters.