Discipline for a 3.5 yr old

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ooguyx

Puritan Board Freshman
So our 3.5 year old son fights his discipline from his mother. Things like running away, kicking, screaming, etc.

When I administer it he does much better. We're not sure what to do, so any advice would be helpful.
 

Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
Consistency is everything. Use some kind of spoon or leather strap to make it feel the same every time. Tell your wife she has to make it hurt, or the child will just be angry and not repentant. If the child responds well to your discipline and not your wife, let the child know that if he is not obedient and submissive when your wife disciplines, he will have discipline from you as well.

I'm going through something similar with my 3.5 year-old son who will not stop climbing into his brother's bed each night.

Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death. Proverbs 19:18
 

puritanpilgrim

Puritan Board Junior
You need to try to see why you are getting different results. What is different between your actions and your wives? And you need to help you wife see the ways in which she might not be taking control. It's difficult to say exactly what should be done differently because I am not there. However, I believe you can discern the difference if you pay attention to the situation. You wife needs to assert herself as a ruler in the home. Not over you, but over this children and the affairs of the household. Don't merely look at the times when the child is in trouble. Consider the other times as well. Additionally, you need to consider how consistently the child is disciplined. If there is inconsistency, it teaches the child..."well there might be a chance this time." And that can lead to confusion on the part of the child.

Also, you need to analyze how you discipline. Are you resorting to raising your voice and throwing your weight around or slamming things in a way that your wife would not be able or willing to do? If you are you might be setting your wife up for failure. It is weakness and laziness for a father to fall back on these tactics during times of discipline.

Above all, your discipline needs to point the child to the cross, which is the only hope for their rebellion.

If you haven't read it, I would recommend that you read shepherding a child's heart by Tedd Tripp:

http://www.amazon.com/Shepherding-Childs-Heart-Tedd-Tripp/dp/0966378601

There are also some lectures on the topic:


https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/shepherding-a-childs-heart/id550437815?mt=10
 

ooguyx

Puritan Board Freshman
These are good points. I've been working with my wife on consistency and she has been doing better. As for me, the only I lose my cool is when I hear from another room that he's fighting her so hard. I'm not consistent with restraining myself there so I'll get to doing that.

One issue neither of us is sure of is screaming. This kid screams at the top of his lungs during the discipline. On the one hand we don't want him to do that, on the other I understand that it hurts. What are your thoughts on this: should we continue disciplining for the screaming or no?
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
You can communicate that if the child fights discipline with mother then they will be disciplined again by you for not submitting and receiving discipline well.

But you can't lose your cool. You and your wife have to be loving and something helpful with this is to be calm, ask them why they are being disciplined, what does God say in His Word (pertaining to that), teach them what God says, teach them how to pray, confess, and repent before God and man, pray to God for forgiveness. And be consistent.
 

puritanpilgrim

Puritan Board Junior
One issue neither of us is sure of is screaming. This kid screams at the top of his lungs during the discipline. On the one hand we don't want him to do that, on the other I understand that it hurts. What are your thoughts on this: should we continue disciplining for the screaming or no?
He must be trained to receive discipline without screaming.

Something else that is important to remember is that you don't want to waste your problems. We make the mistake of thinking that God's intention for our lives is comfort and ease. And even if we don't verbally espouse such a doctrine it's will come out in the way that we deal with and react to our difficulty. The Lord is not only shaping your children through their discipline, he is also shaping you and your wife. God intends for these times to be difficult and hard for you because he is in the process of sanctifying you through this process. He is working within you as you are working within your children. Realizing this is an important step in your journey as a parent. As crazy as this will sound to you, this is the easy stage of child rearing. It gets much more difficult after this. However, mistake you makes now will come back to get you later on.

I highly recommend that you and your wife read the book by Ted Tripp. I believe that it would help both of you to have the right perspective in discipline.
 

BGF

Puritan Board Sophomore
Generally I'm in agreement with the brothers that answered before. We had the same difficulty with our youngest that we did not seem to have with his older brother. To be sure, our consistency was not the best, but his extreme reaction to punishment just seemed to way out of the ordinary. He was later diagnosed with a mild form of autism and sensory integration disorder. By no means am I trying to diagnose from afar and kids will react and rebuff discipline purely due to the sinfulness common to all of us. However, don't be afraid to explore different tactics.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
There are probably a number of issues, with opportunities for all three of you to learn, repent, and grow. Parenting is like that. Don't get discouraged, and keep working on discipline. Sometimes there are big bumps in the road, and it doesn't make you a worse parent than the rest of us. It just shows how we all need Jesus.

Be sure you're praying for your son.

Sometimes Christian parents in particular feel pressure to do parenting and discipline "God's way," according to some book they read or some discipline method they learned was the correct Christian method. Or we get in a discipline rut that's fueled more by our prideful determination to prove we're right than by love for our child. But this is not how our heavenly Father disciplines us. God does not follow a formula; rather, he picks a method of discipline that fits the individual's heart. He knows us and our failings. He works with our peculiarities. This is part of loving discipline.

I mention this to encourage you that you have freedom to love your child as you think is best. It may be that the way to shape your particular child's heart is NOT through methods you've somehow come to believe are the ones godly parents ought to be using. If certain methods are ineffective, you should feel free to try other methods and see which ones seem best for your child. It may well be that you conclude you should go back to your old methods; just don't be trapped by expectations and formulas. Do be thoughtful, not jumping from method to method willy-nilly. But you know your child. Consider him. Know his heart and discipline him accordingly, in love.
 

brendanchatt

Puritan Board Freshman
I agree with what Ryan says about expectations.

Additionally, I think a reasonable place for physical discipline to be used is in areas beyond your child's comprehension, but also with patience, etc...like if a child refuses to obey and then refuses to submit verbal correction, but the issue is beyond the child's reasoning abilities. With love I guess that this could help a child know that you're looking out for them, but they just don't get it at the moment.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
So our 3.5 year old son fights his discipline from his mother. Things like running away, kicking, screaming, etc.

When I administer it he does much better. We're not sure what to do, so any advice would be helpful.
Roy,

Let me get back to your original question. I don't like to offer parenting advice and specifics in general because I don't know your circumstance or your child.

That said, if you have any discipline books with "...God's way..." in the title then I suggest you toss them in the garbage.

There are certain approaches that almost dare children to sin and cause parents to obsessively focus on children being near perfect.

We're on our fifth child now and each child's temperment is a little different. Some children have processing issues where they can't make some of the associations that some of these discipline methods require of them.

Let me just say that the fact that a child may scream and/or fight discipline does not mean that discipline is ineffective. Don't obsess too much on the input-output paradigm. Kids are way more complicated than the way these books make it seem they are. They're also a lot more resilient than we sometimes fear they are.

Try to be consistent and make sure, above all, you're praying with and loving on your kids and explaining why you're disciplining. If some things get missed now and again then things will be OK. Remember that it's the Spirit of God that changes the heart of a child. Discipline is to drive folly that a child might be in a posture where they can hear that their folly is destructive.

I look back now and realize we made a lot of mistakes with our first child. Your concern that you get it right with your boy is admirable and I don't want you to just blow it off and think that I'm saying not to worry about this particular case. I recommend that you have an elder with some kids come by and observe what's going on so he can get a sense for the family. My only point in offering advice her was to encourage you to not stress too much about whether you guys might be messing up your kid. I'm just offering that I appreciate the angst but, in retrospect, things work out in surprising ways because God is very gracious.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I think the most well behaved children I have known are those who belong to my pastor and his wife. Every single one of their children behave well. They took a different approach to raising their children. It was more like training a dog than anything else. It's harder to do in the beginning (they started when the children were babies) but the rewards are much greater in the end. They seldom have to discipline their children bc of all the training they did and the way they trained their children. I know they had a very good book they followed...I know there was one or two chapters they didn't agree with so they just ignored those chapters. I can't remember the name of the book right now but I can asked them the name if you're interested. I sent it to my niece and her children are doing well too.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Something that many seem to fail to realize/acknowledge is that children are all different. They all react differently to different forms of discipline. For Ryan's daughter, she may be so tender that he has never needed to resort to physical discipline. I've known children like this. My niece for example - I used to merely have to say her name when she'd done something wrong and she began crying. To spank her when she already seemed broken over her sin did seem overly harsh. My son on the other hand has a VERY strong personality. He can be outright defiant at times and for him, even at only four years old, if my wife and I had not and did not discipline him with spankings, he would be out of control. I don't think the parent that refuses to spank is inherently wrong just as the parent who chooses to spank isn't inherently wrong. Actually, I'd say discipline of children is a decision best left to parents (they'll know their kids best). For someone to tell another parent they are wrong for either not spanking or for spanking is really overstepping their bounds.

I'd also like to point out that this thread is completely off-topic now and it's unfortunate that the OP didn't get more wisdom for his question. To the OP, Mr Martin, I think your best bet is to seek the wisdom of your session for your questions regarding discipline.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
Wonderful insight Mr. Silva. I had to be very hard on on all three of my boys. I spanked my daughters virtually never. The difference? My girls wanted to please me and were devastated if I was unhappy with them; to spank them frequently or harshly would have been cruel.

My sons frequently laughed when I spanked them! Ah. Memories.
 
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