The scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) These young years between birth and 6 are so critical. Children can learn so well how to respect authority and how to obey. One thing that saddens me sometimes is when parents struggle with understanding that any lack of discipline during these very fragile years, can greatly affect their educational experience. If a child is not disciplined at home, then it is very difficult for a teacher to educate them. I do not want to give any specific strategies to be used, but I do want to beg you to be sure to let your “no” always stand. Set the boundaries and stick to them. Set the consequences and stick to them. If you don’t then your child will think that they do not have to really respect authority. Even if they cry….even if they think you are the most evil person in the universe…even when your heart aches (I know this pain….)…stick to your guns. You will not regret it.
I’d like to share my personal story about my oldest son Dillon. He has a very strong will, but he had me wrapped all around his finger. My parents, my husband, my sister in law, everyone was telling me that I needed to do a better job of setting boundaries/disciplining. But I couldn’t! He was just so cute, my first born, his little cry melted me. One day I was sleeping and God woke me with a horrible fear of losing him. I went to his room to pray over him and God’s gentle voice asked me one question, “Anika, if Dillon were playing in the yard and started to run out to the street and you were too far to get to him, and you saw a big truck coming down the street…if you called him, would he stop? Would he come back to you? Or would he keep running to the street?” I shuddered as I realized that my son would probably run out into the street and into that truck! At that moment I prayed and asked God to help me do better. Obedience can save my child’s life! He must learn to respect my authority, to respond to my voice. He’s “still under construction”, but I am thankful for his progress.
My grandfather used to say to my mom (before he punished her). “I love you DeLoris, but I want everyone else to love you too!” You want your child to be a blessing to his teacher and classroom.