Nine Principles of Loving Discipline for Parents

Here are nine principles of loving discipline to remember and practice. They are sure to improve your home life.

1. Discipline is love in action. Loving Discipline is teaching at the most gentle hands a child will ever experience—a loving parent’s. Discipline now, and the world will not have to discipline your child later.

2. Good discipline is grounded in good sense. It always has been. It always will be. New and improved parenting theories are new, but aren’t always improved, and sometimes, are much worse than time-tested methods.

3. Good parents make mistakes and learn from them. Disciplining in fear of mistakes only erodes your self-confidence; and self-confidence is crucial to taking the hard but best stance.

4. Strong discipline isn’t complicated. It’s founded upon a few basics, and the will to persevere with those basics. Discipline is easy, if you’re willing work hard at it.

5. Discipline is action, not talk. Discipline with consequences, and you’ll discipline less. Discipline with words, and you’ll discipline more. Action discipline leads to calmer and quieter discipline. Wordy discipline leads to louder and meaner discipline.

6. All discipline interacts with a one-of-a-kind object—a child. Some kids require one-tenth of the average amount of discipline. Some kids require ten times the average. Regardless, good parenting is parenting up to the very level required. Do what it takes for as long as it takes. Your child deserves no less.

7. Kids are built to misbehave. It’s in their essence. It’s who they are. Expect misconduct for years. Expect to discipline for years. Time will reward you and your children.

8. Humans resist discipline—some a little, some a lot. Children are just better at resisting discipline than most. It’s a fact of human nature what we often fight what is good for us. Resist your child’s resistance. As he matures, he’ll better understand and accept.

9. Good parents are misunderstood. Really good parents are really misunderstood. No longer is it only the children who question and accuse good parents, now it is other adults who should know better. Strong parents face a lot of opposition these days. Not because they are wrong, but because they are right. Stand strong. Reality always wins and it is on your side.

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  • Joe DeVet

    Lots of wisdom in this list! I would add at tenth, which I would place at the head of the list as an overarching principle to guide all the rest. It’s implicit in the above list, but I would make it explicit:

    0. Always, always love each child for who he is, and through good times and bad, communicate that unconditional love in a way they can understand.

    I learned this from my wife, who has a huge heart and an uncanny knack for motherhood, demonstrated now over several decades.

    Relevant to the other tips, awhile back young friends with 3 young sons asked me, as an experienced dad, how to handle them. I said be sure the kids understand what they expect, and spank them if they disobey. They thought I was kidding, and never took my advice. Problem is, they were blind to the fact that other parents their age were avoiding them because their sons were so unruly, and actually cruel, with impunity, to the other parents’ children.

  • Right on, Joe. That is definitely Dr. Ray’s underlying premise. He is quick to say, it really doesn’t matter what you do, or how you do it, as long as the kids know you love them.

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