Friday, February 22, 2008

When Discipline Should Begin

From FOCUS ON THE FAMILY, Today, 22 Feb 2008 edition

By Dr James Dobson

When Discipline Should Begin

Let’s offer a word of advice today specifically for the parents of babies.

It comes in response to the question, “When should discipline of a child actually begin?”

Well, my answer my surprise you, but I think it should start as soon as possible after birth.

Now, obviously, I’m not talking about physical punishment or anything negative.

Some parents don’t agree, and they find themselves swatting a baby for wiggling

while being diapered. This is a terrible mistake. Other parents will shake a child violently

when they’re irritated by his persistent crying. Let me warn parents that shaking an infant

can cause serious neurological damage by slamming the brain against the skull. Do not risk

any kind of injury with a baby.

So what form of discipline is appropriate at that age?

The answer is: loving leadership.

Parents should have the courage to do what’s right for their babies,

even if the child resists it.

Dr Bill Slonecker, a Nashville pediatrician and a good friend, said that

new mothers will call him on the phone and they’ll say: “My six-month-old baby is crying

and he seems very hot.” The doctor asks if the child has a fever, to which mum replies; “I don’t know.

He won’t let me take his temperature.”

These mothers have already yielded their authority to their infants,

and some will never regain it. Good parenting and loving leadership go hand in hand, and both should begin

on day one.