Discipline: The Teaching Years (6-12)

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“Do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up

in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Ephesians 6:4

Last week’s Tip on Motherhood focused on laying a foundation for discipline in the early years, I wrote about why consistent discipline in the early years is critical and gave some practical ideas for consequences. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re still in those preschool years, I think you’ll benefit from going back and giving it a glance.

Once your child moves beyond preschool, from about the age or 6 through age 12, you are in what I like to think of as “the teaching years.” If the first 5 years of discipline required energy (how many times did you give your sweet little one the same consequence for the same behavior before they started to “get it?”) these next years require a parent’s T-I-M-E.

In the early years, immediate obedience was your goal, but in these years, the focus shifts. Your main focus should now be on building your child’s character.

Your kids are growing older and their ability to reason is increasing. They naturally want to know the why behind every rule and as good parents; these are the years when we need to be able to give them answers. These years may be easier years of discipline, but when those moments come when we do say no or when we give a consequence for a behavior, these are the years to stop and explain the why behind the no.

These are the years to have heart to heart conversations with your child so that they gain an understanding as to why you desire them to act a certain way and why certain behaviors are harmful to themselves or to others.

We want to shape our children into adults whose internal character sets boundaries for their behavior rather than external rules. Your goal at the end of the day is a child who no longer needs to follow ‘Mom’s rules’ because their rules for life are written on their heart.