Discipline isn’t Something You Do: Discipline is Something You Have

Welcome to the Spank Out Day 2012 Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Second Annual Spank Out Day Carnival hosted by Zoie at TouchstoneZ. Spank Out Day was created by The Center for Effective Discipline to give attention to the need to end corporal punishment of children and to promote non-violent ways of teaching children appropriate behavior. All parents, guardians, and caregivers are encouraged to refrain from hitting children on April 30th each year, and to seek alternative methods of discipline through programs available in community agencies, churches and schools. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


scream and shout
Photo by Mindaugus Danys

Whenever the topic of parenting comes up, the subject of discipline isn’t too far behind. While how we parent varies greatly as a society, most parents will agree that they hold a desire for their children to have self-control, self-regulation and self-discipline. Self-discipline is a very good thing to have. It allows us to set goals and achieve them, to stay true to ourselves and our beliefs, and to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions. Self-discipline allows us to be responsible individuals, to think of others, and to grow as an individual.

It is not something we are born with, this self-discipline. It develops over time. As much as we would like it to be instantaneous, it’s something we have to strive for and which increases as we grow, learn, and discover. While it may be nurtured, guided and encouraged, it isn’t something that can be forced onto another human being.

If we want our children to be disciplined, we must first focus on ourselves. We cannot help our children to learn self-discipline if we, ourselves, do not have it. When parents lose their own control by erupting into parental temper tantrums – through screaming, blaming, or even hitting – how can they possibly expect their children to show self-control?

Discipline is a life-long journey of self-discipline, discovery, and learning. Discipline is not something you do. Discipline is something you have.


Spank Out Day 2012 Carnival hosted by TouchstoneZ

On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #SpankOutCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Spank Out Day Carnival Twitter List and Spank Out Day Carnival Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

12 thoughts on “Discipline isn’t Something You Do: Discipline is Something You Have

Add yours

  1. I absolutely agree, the more we parents can model how to self-discipline ourselves in the face of challenges, difficulties and emotionally charged situations the more our children will have a chance to do the same. Lovely thoughts, thank you!

  2. I love the idea of giving our children the gift of learning self-discipline. With that they can do almost anything. And modelling the behaviour is what I believe is the best kind of parenting. I just read this through twice and will probably come back. I need to meditate on some of these thoughts.

  3. You make an excellent point. Our kids look to us to model behavior. If we consistently act out of control, they learn that this is the appropriate way to live in the world. We can talk to them ad nauseum, but it is our actions that really teach them. If we teach them that we are allowed to hit them, then they will hit. And since we, as parents, are in a power position, they will hit someone that they feel has less power than they do or they will try to make that true. Conversely, if we use self awareness of out actions, which is entirely different from being in authentic or perfect, they learn to trust themselves and us.

    Thank you for participating in The Spank Out Day Carnival.

  4. SO TRUE. Parents really need to turn their focus inwards and take notice and responsibility for their own behaviours. Too often it is overlooked how children learn foremost by what they observe in their environment, meaning their main caregivers especially. Often touted by parents in support of spanking is the idea that they never do it in anger, which is technically impossible. You would have to be upset about your child’s behaviour in order to even consider striking them into changing it. It is just another excuse for continuing to parent with fear instead of empathy, which takes much more conscious effort.

  5. I totally agree with this, however, it is very difficult to maintain self-discipline when you are severely sleep deprived and cannot get yourself in line let alone your children… :-s

    1. And isn’t that the point? If parents are having diffculty maintaining their own self-discipline, how can they expect their children, who have had less time to learn and practice self-discipline, to hold to the parents standards?

      1. Yes, it is. But I read it all the time, and there is no help for tired, haggard mamas who just can’t get ahead. I don’t spank my kids, I don’t yell. I just feel angry and irritated, and it takes every ounce of my energy to not let that anger and irritation makes it’s way out of me. I’m holding onto being rested and able to be a better mama for my kids, and a little nicer to myself.

  6. I guess it’s hard to hear when you want to be a patient, controlled mama but just can’t seem to get there…

    1. I think that’s why we need to treat everyone, our children and ourselves, with compassion and work together, at the same time, allowing each person to own their own actions (and not feel the need to own and control) the actions of others. Life is a journey. We are constantly learning and changing. It’s how we grow. The point is not to beat ourselves up when we go off course (hard to do, I know) but to keep us headed in the direction we want to see ourselves.

      May I make a suggestion? Anger is a secondary emotion. When we feel anger, it’s because there is another emotion lurking underneath that we are ignoring. When I find myself getting flustered more easily and less patient, I generally find it is a good idea for me to step back and assess my true emotions and what needs I may have. When I ignore my needs, it is harder for me to deal with other things, just as it is with our children.

      I hope you find the peace you are looking for.

      1. Yes, most certainly secondary… to exhaustion for me I think! I tell myself that this is a short phase, and before I know it everyone will be rested and this stage will be but a distant memory. Thank you for your kind words 🙂

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