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Love + Discipline= Happy Functional Children

One of the most challenging jobs as a parent is to be firm, yet loving when disciplining our children. Children know when a parent “means business” vs. a “soft parent” who won’t stick to their own rules. I hope this article helps as your toddlers become pre-school age and beyond.

"Love mixed with firm discipline is what produces functional happy children. What this means is that parents need to, first and foremost, be disciplined themselves. If a parent isn't disciplined there is no chance of disciplining their children correctly. Discipline should come from natural consequences, or the law of cause and effect. It should not come from induced fear, humiliation, shame, yelling or any form of physical or emotional coercion. As parents, we are going to have human moments of raising our voices, but after we should own up to our lack of self-control and model for them what taking accountability looks like. Children who have been disciplined have been given loving and firm guidance and they show the following character traits, which last a lifetime.

8 Traits of Children Who Have Been Disciplined

1. Self-control and maturity: Emotional maturity is the ability to delay gratification. This means that the parenting has taught them to keep commitments even when they are no longer new or exciting. Disciplined children can commit to doing what is right even when they don't feel like it.

2. Empathy: Disciplined children are able to put themselves in the shoes of someone else's emotional experience which allows them to develop understanding and genuine care. This enables them to help someone from a place of purity rather than helping someone to meet their own agenda.

3. Desire to feel good: Disciplined children have been parented to know they are "good," and because of this they are driven, through their own behaviors, to maintain this state of internal well-being. Feeling good is their natural state which they will always reach back for when their lives get off.

4. Responsible: Children who have been disciplined are motivated from within to help around the house, school and in the world at large because they see the value in contributing to the whole rather than just thinking about their own needs.

5. Love themselves: Children who are disciplined have an internal sense of confidence. In other words, confidence is derived from within and not just from performance or outside validation. They have been loved correctly which makes them see themselves as lovable.

6. Accountable: Disciplined children own up to their mistakes and are more likely to make good choices because they desire to feel good. Ownership is not seen as shameful, but rather, seen as an opportunity to practice having good character. Responsible children are taught that being wrong in life is ok and just a part of the process.

7. Respect authority: When children have been positively disciplined they respect authority, rules and basic moral codes. Respect is a two-way street in parenting. If you respect your children, they will learn to respect adults and authority in general. Children need to look up to you, not across at you.

8. Happy: Children who have been disciplined are happy people. They are pleasant to be around and have an easy time making and sustaining relationships. They tend to be liked by all age groups and are the kids other parents wish their kids could be.

Positive parenting requires parents create open and honest communication. They teach their children -- by their own actions -- about how life works and how to handle the challenges it brings. Loving-discipline always comes from a positive place and it teaches children the lessons of pain, so they are able to see the silver linings and the bigger pictures of life as they grow. The four most import words to ask our children are "what are you feeling?" Look beyond their behaviors into their emotions. This type of parenting should start at birth. When we care about how our children feel, more than how they behave, they learn they are important, can make mistakes and will be unconditionally loved. It also teaches them to prioritize their own emotions in life and to modulate them on their own. This turns them into emotionally intelligent adults."

Little Life Message: When we discipline our children we show them that we care.

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