Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dads' Advice on Fatherhood: Part 6 - Discipline

A number of the fathers whom I spoke to about fatherhood spoke of the importance of setting boundaries and of discipline.

One father said that he doesn't have too many rules but he makes sure that both he and his wife enforce the ones they do have.  He was saying that children may play one parent off against the other but be firm and consistent.

One father wrote, "The trick is "not to spare the rod" not that I'm implying to hit them but be very careful not to pamper them as this will have severe consequences down the line."

A consensus seemed to be that if a father doesn't act like a man and firmly but gently discipline his children then it will make things very difficult for their wives who will then end up making up for this and perhaps overacting.

One father said that one of the biggest problems in society today is that men don't know how to be men - we live in a society where fathers are emasculated and instead of being the leaders that they are divinely called to be, they end up being passive and silent.

A friend said to me that when he saw his son hitting his mother he made it very clear that this is wrong - he didn't mind his child hitting him but he wanted his son to know from a very early age that women should be treated differently and with great respect.

Although it is perhaps common sense, some fathers said that part of the discipline of disciplining children is to be realistic - not to threaten over the top punishments then back down and not to give in every time.  He said, "Your son will push the boundaries, but if he's anything like my sons, he'll deep down want to know where the line is and to have the comfort of know what is and what isn't acceptable.

Two of the fathers emphasised that in disciplining children we have to avoid using abusive language and hurtful words - to get the right balance between criticising bad behaviour whilst affirming the child.  A friend also said, "For every criticism, give five words of affirmation."

Incidentally there is a good article on discipline at the excellent, Fathers for Good website

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