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Two Significant Disciplinary Ideas

Two Significant Disciplinary Ideas

“Please don’t do that.”

“You’re doing it again!”

“I’ve told you before not to do that!”

“How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t do that!”

I often went through that downward spiral of anger and exasperation. It usually ended in an angry outburst at my daughter. I wanted her to be an obedient, disciplined child, yet I soon realized that I needed to be disciplined first.

Effective discipline involves training our children and controlling ourselves while we do it. To do that we must know how we’re going to respond.

Here are three stages of discipline:

  1. Instruction – giving guidelines and verbally telling our child how to do something correctly.
  2. Training – guiding him, working with him, being alongside as he learns.
  3. Correction – after he understands and can perform, appropriate measures should be taken.

We have a beautiful example in Jesus as He taught and discipled His followers. He spent much time and effort instructing, training and correcting them. They became His disciples—disciplined ones. Then, when He was gone, they could follow His teachings through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

The difference between punishment and discipline:

Punishment implies hurting someone in retribution or paying them back for an offense. We punish to satisfy anger or the requirements of our society’s legal system. It is done for our sake, sometimes to release our own frustration—not for the sake of the wrongdoer.

Discipline, on the other hand, is for the sake of the child—to help him improve himself or learn a lesson that will make him a better person. Our motive and goal is to help our child develop self-control and respect for authority.

Once I realized this distinction, I knew I had been punishing my daughter instead of disciplining her. I was trying to pay her back for her misdeeds, which I took personally, instead of wanting to train her for the future.

When I applied the three stages of discipline and changed my motive from punishing to training, I could discipline her without losing control. Before, it seemed my anger had to be part of the punishment to emphasize the “badness” of her past actions. I would say something like, “I am giving you a time out you because you did something wrong.”

When I changed my focus, I began to want her to remember to obey next time. Therefore, as I spoke to her during the disciplining process, I would say, “I am disciplining you so that you will remember the next time to obey and develop self-control, because it’s for your good.”

These perspectives made a difference in my goals, responses, and attitudes. I trust they will help you also.

By: Kathy Collard Miller is a wife, mother of two, grandmother of two, and an award-winning author of over 50 books and numerous articles. Her most recent book is No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom. She is also a popular speaker who has spoken in eight foreign countries and over thirty US states. You can reach her at

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.


  1. Such a good post. Thank you so much for putting into words these disciplinary distinctions. So important even in Scripture as our Father deals with us!

    • Thank you Sylvia for stopping by, reading, and commenting. I really appreciate your encouragement!

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