I’m a Discipline Expert (part 2)



From my childhood. 4 years old.

Now maybe you think I’m speaking this week because I’m an expert at discipline and love languages. But actually there was just an opening in the schedule. This chapter was hard! I find myself thinking in a totally different way than before. Perhaps you grew up similar to me, where if you did something wrong you were spanked, sent to your room, or couldn’t go out with friends on the weekend. My parents actually don’t remember me ever doing anything wrong as a child, but unfortunately that obedience was not hereditary. Everyone makes mistakes, and this chapter gives some great insight.

[Did you read Part 1 about Discovering your child’s Love Language?]

We must keep the child’s love tank full, BEFORE we administer discipline.

Spanking, time-outs, etc, are actually considered punishment, which is a form of discipline but it is the most negative. Discipline actually means to train.

The main cause of misbehavior in our children is an empty emotional (love) tank. You can’t demand good behavior from a child who doesn’t feel loved. The second cause of misbehavior is a physical problem. The younger the child, the more true this is, right? For some of us, it is obvious when it’s nap time, or when the child hasn’t had a snack. Misbehavior still isn’t acceptable even if your son is hungry or tired, but the problem can be quickly relieved.

A question to ask yourself before disciplining your child: does my child feel sorry for what he has done? If there is genuine repentance, then there is no need to proceed further. He has learned and repented. At that point, punishment could be destructive.

That helps us understand why our kids misbehave, but we still want kids who are behaving well so the book lists 5 ways to control your child’s behavior:

  • Make requests: this shows you respect his feelings, you believe he is smart enough to form an opinion, your expect him to take responsibility.
  • Issuing Commands: more forceful than requests; this disregards a child’s opinion and feelings, not giving responsibility to them. The more you use authoritarian techniques such as commands, scolding, nagging, screaming, the LESS effective you become.
  • Gentle Physical Manipulation: move the 3 year old. When you are saying “time to come inside” and they are saying no, no no, just take their hand and move them gently.
  • Punishment: Make sure it fits the crime, be consistent, be appropriate. In order to do these things you need to plan ahead. 
  • Behavior Modification: Positive reinforcement – reward for appropriate behavior (piece of candy)
    • Negative reinforcement – take away a positive element from child’s environment (take away TV time)
    • Punishment – Place negative element in child’s environment (send to his room)
    • Don’t overuse or child won’t feel loved, he will think love is conditional

Don’t use a form of discipline directly related to your child’s primary love language.

If your child’s primary love language is Quality Time and you put your child in a Time Out by himself, you are sending a message of painful rejection. Instead consider a “time in” where you sit with him, talk about what went wrong and how to do things differently.

If your child’s love language is words of affirmation and you speak harshly, you are sending a message of rejection. And remember if they don’t feel loved the discipline isn’t effective.

Thanks for reading Part 1 and Part 2 of my talk, but my favorite part is coming up. How did Jesus discipline? Check back tomorrow for some examples of how Jesus showed love through these love languages.