Comparison is human nature. Being a person who loves sports, can’t play a sport, but I love watching and following them, comparison fills almost every aspect of following sports. James compared to Jordon. Manning compared to Elway/Montana. Tiger compared to Nicklaus. Comparisons are everywhere and across all sporting news.
Comparing two sports figures, from two different eras, is a fun and a great time waster topic of conversation because it is completely subjective and has no way of being proven to be correct. Unless time travel gets invented, but comparing can be troublesome especially when we start comparing our life with others. For example, the mentality of “keeping up with the Jones” is a great way to get yourself in money troubles because you covet someone else’s lifestyle.
The type of comparison that I want to talk about is when we start comparing our children, especially in regards to how they behave. When our children are misbehaving or just being goofy, it is easy compare our children with others.
Being a father of two boys, who for the most part are good especially in public. We do get a lot of compliments about our children “sitting well” or “being polite,” which make me very proud. But they are not good all the time. Sometimes when my children act out, and I can go into doubt of my parenting skills.
When we start comparing our family with other families it can become troublesome, because no family is perfect or has it all together. Sometimes we can wonder if we are doing something wrong, so we start to follow how someone else does family life. This can be bad because not every family is the same, so adapting to their lifestyle can cause more headaches because it will take more effort and commitment to change your whole family. There are times when we should change our mentality, but I think for many families, it is important to steer the course in your current discipline methods.
But what if I am doing for discipline isn’t working?
There is not one method that is 100 percent, but here are some practical guidelines
First, set realistic expectations and limits. Your children will never be perfect, so don’t expect them to be perfect. An example, is that your children won’t hear you all the time, so don’t discipline for not paying attention especially after the first time. Discipline only to alter bad behavior, like being disrespectful. But also be realistic on limits, you can’t ground the child for life. Also, not every discipline should result in something severe. For example, a parent who is always yelling at their kids only teaches that yelling is the proper way of communication. If you yell for your child to brush their teeth, then how will they know how to get their attention when something serious is happening like crossing the road. So be realistic.
Second, never discipline with threats or out of anger. Threats and anger are ways to bully your child, and it has no place in the house. If you do get mad or make a threat, you should be an adult and apologize to your child when you calm down.
Third, consistency. If they get disciplined for disrespecting their mother, you cannot disrespect her as well. Sounds like common sense, but I know men who speak ill of their wife behind their back, that is disrespectful, and it reinforces the behavior. Also be consistent on what is punishable and what isn’t.
Fourth, prepare for consequences. Everything has consequences, so be ready for crying, screaming, and headaches. Sometimes parents won’t discipline, because they don’t want their children to disrupt their routine? Do not fear the consequences, expect them.
Finally, always discipline for a child to grow. Do not punish just to punish. Discipline is like a savings account; you put the effort now, for a better future for them later. Discipline for the person you want your children to become tomorrow.
Whatever method of discipline your family uses, make sure it follows these practical guidelines. Do what works best for your family and never compare them to others. God has given you these children, treat them well.