Family Magazine

In Regards to Your Parenting Style, Balance Discipline with Love

By Lessonsofadad @lessonsofadad
Here’s one lesson that struck me recently, during one of our parenting studies, in regards to disciplining our children.  It goes something like this:
a.Discipline without love leads to REBELLION.  b.Love without discipline leads to ANARCHY.  
Regarding Filipino families' parenting style, we seem to err on the first one, discipline without love.  Many Filipino parents, those I’ve seen anyway, seem very autocratic, and raise their kids by what I called the PBA method (Parenting By Anger).  I see it all the time, Pinoy parents tend to shout, yell out vicious threats, spank out of anger.  
When we discussed this part of the lesson with my young couples group, most of them confessed that they followed their parents out of fear, not out of love and respect.  They talked about the threats, the negative reinforcement (constant correction, rarely any praise), not being allowed to reason with them because they weren’t allowed to talk back, and the little emotional connection they had with their parents.
It proved quite detrimental.  Some of them harbor feelings of resentment to this day.  There was also talk about rebellion at the first sign of freedom, such as college.  Some young people I know swear that once they leave home for college, they’ll follow the same route.  The values of parents were never internalized, all they know is the discipline…but it’s hard to discipline if there’s no good relationship.
Now, I grew up in America, and King Edward VIII has been famously quoted to say this about the parenting style of its locals: 
“The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children.”  
I’m sure he said that in jest, but still, I guess you can say that many American parents tend to err on the second one, love without discipline leads to anarchy.  Do you agree? 
Growing up, I remember being a bit bitter towards my parents for being a lot stricter than the parents of my friends.  They (my friends) seem to be allowed to party all the time, allowed to have really late curfews (or curfews don't exist), had credit cards free for the charging, and basically just had much less restraint and much more freedom than I had.  
Furthermore, an article I read had this to say about today’s American fathers:
“… the image of the perfect American father, 2011-style, seems fuzzier than ever. The classic pop-culture archetypes — silver-templed sages in cardigan sweaters (Ward Cleaver, Cliff Huxtable) — seem as outmoded as rabbit ears in an era where fathers would rather act like their children’s best friend than square-jawed authority figures. 
“Today’s Generations X and Y dads are closer in spirit to Will Arnett in the new NBC situation comedy ‘Up All Night’— potty-mouthed guys in pocket T-shirts and stubble...Overgrown boys themselves, they may not feel ready for the responsibilities of co-parenting, but they feel obligated to fake it mightily.” 
That scares me, because I feel that children do need authority figures; they need guidance; and they have to get all that from the home.  But if “square-jawed authority figures” in parents, especially in fathers, has become passé, the kids will grow up having a real hard time respecting any authority, be it school authority, or government authority, etc.
“Sow a thought, reap an act.   Sow an act, reap a habit.   Sow a habit, reap a character.   Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
The right type of parenting should be a healthy mix of both love and discipline. 
Hebrews 12:6 – “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives."
Parents should be authoritative, but not authoritarian.  Meaning, parents have, and show, real authority at home, but do so through positively influencing their kids…especially by means of modeling and mentoring.  
In regards to your parenting style, balance discipline with loveFor parents who err towards the first point, remember that trying to discipline your kids without a good relationship will bring about much more frustration that you’d like.  We can only earn the right to discipline them when they feel loved.
When my kids and I really tight in the tribe, disciplinary action is easy and painless.  When I get into negligent parent mode (which happens, occasionally) and I try to correct them, it’s not as effective.
For parents who err towards the second, it’s great that you want to be friends with your kids, but it’s more important that you be their authority figure, their parents.  Disciplining your child is one of the most important parenting jobs there is.
Hebrews 12:7 – It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 
Proverbs 13:24 – He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently. 
I truly hope this article helped.  To get our parenting style on the right track, we truly need to balance discipline with love.  Speaking of love, I’d love to hear your comments.  Oh, and I would consider it an honor if you subscribe to my site as well (see right margin).    

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