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The secret to raising disciplined kids


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Cecilia Pigg - published on 01/25/22

If you want to raise children with self-control, make sure you've got a mirror.

Ever had a painful parenting realization when you came to terms with the fact that you made your kids’ problem infinitely worse — or realized that you were the problem? I most certainly have. And not so long ago, either. The most recent time happened … well, today.

I’ve begun to realize that the better disciplined I want my kids to be, the more disciplined I myself have to be. If I expect my progeny to do the right thing in whatever situations they face in life, and not just what they feel like doing, I sure as tootin’ need to be able to do the same.

As I work to master self-control in my own life, I not only become a better disciplinarian, but my kids are able to see that I practice what I preach.

“Act, don’t react.” 

An author and blogger I enjoy reading when it comes to homemaking and raising children is Leila M. Lawlor. She suggests the saying, “Act, don’t react” as a key to discipline for children.

I’ve noticed this in myself—when I’m distracted or would prefer to be doing something else, I let the state of affairs in the kids’ world get out of hand, when I could have preempted much of the problem.

For example, today the behavior of a certain child, caused initially by boredom or hunger, escalated quickly when he couldn’t get my attention. If I had had lunch ready on time for this hungry kid, and been present when said kid started hangrily acting out, I could have easily been on top of the situation instead of playing catch up to more extreme behavior. Instead, I chose to “just answer this text” and then “just answer this other text” and then I got distracted when I could have been proactively taking care of what my children needed. 

So, if the key to better discipline for your kids is working on your own self-discipline, we do you wonder where to start?

Here are a few examination of conscience type questions to help you identify where you might need to grow…

What do you find yourself doing when you’re trying to avoid a task or project that needs to be done either at work or at home? Scrolling? Texting? Organizing? Eating?

Even if what you are doing is a “good, necessary thing” realize that you are doing it at the wrong time, and that makes it the wrong thing to do. When you have order in your life and can do the right thing at the right time, it brings order and balance to your mind and emotions, leaving you as close to supermom or superdad as you can get this side of Heaven. 

Does what you do to unwind at night leave you feeling happier and fulfilled? Or do you go to bed after “relaxing” feeling drained and empty?

If you aren’t feeling content or peaceful after your second nightcap/third streamed episode/extra long Insta scroll then perhaps you went past the point of true relaxation. Try one drink, one episode, or just 11 minutes of scrolling tomorrow night, and see if that smaller amount of unwinding actually does the trick. 

What is disorganized in your house? Is there a room that is perennially messy? Is the mail never quite taken care of? Are you always five minutes late because you can’t find something or other?

Working to create order in your normal environments will help you instill a sense of order and discipline in your children’s lives. 

Take a few moments to determine what is out of order in your own life. Then you can start restoring order within yourself, and that will flow over into the lives of your children. Instead of reacting to situations and kids who have reached their breaking points, your positive action just ahead of the game will lead to fewer behavioral situations in general, and you’ll be more equipped and in control of the ones that do happen.  

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