COLUMBIA — Discipline is not a bad word or an unachievable goal but is something every parent should do for the love of their children, according to Ray Guarendi, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist.
Guarendi gave a presentation at St. John Neumann School April 15 sponsored by the Diocese of Charleston Family Life Office for the Year of the Family. He told the crowd that if parents do not discipline their children now, discipline will come later possibly by a judge, employer, police officer or drill sergeant, and they will not be as understanding as a mom or dad.
“It is up to us parents to have the strength to bring out our kids’ natural best and not permit the worst to rule,” he said.
Guarendi is also a radio host, author and adoptive father of ten children. He uses humor and personal stories to help parents learn the art of good discipline. He believes children get too much stuff and have too much freedom too early. He said that indulgence can be as destructive as neglect when a parent is trying to raise a grateful, polite and virtuous child.
If a parent wants their child to have morals, compassion and maturity, then they are going to have to be willing to discipline more and stand strong when other parents yield, he said.
Guarendi gave 10 core truths about discipline:
Discipline is love in action. Discipline without love is harsh but love without discipline is child abuse because it ultimately hurts the child.
Good discipline is grounded in good sense. Do not let psychological correctness supersede moral correctness or common sense.
Good parents make mistakes (lots of them) and should learn from them. Don’t always second guess yourself.
Be confident. Strong discipline is not complicated. It is easy if you are willing to work hard at it.
Discipline is action, not talk. With action/consequences, discipline is calm and quiet. Disciplining with words is often loud and mean.
Discipline according to the needs of the child. Some children require more than others. Give them what they require for as long as they require it because they deserve it.
Children misbehave, they want to do what they want to do. Expect misconduct and in time, with perseverance, they will learn and you will hear the words, “You have a good kid.”
Human beings resist discipline. We fight what is good for us. Children are especially good at resisting. You must resist their resistance.
Good parents are misunderstood. Today not only will your children question your discipline but so will your peers. Stand strong because, in the end, reality wins and your high standards will pay off.
If you discipline well, you will discipline less.
Guarendi concluded his talk by explaining how past generations effectively disciplined without the assistance of experts because they were able to communicate two important things, their love and that they meant what they said.
He said that parents today are unsure of themselves, need to regain their confidence and be consistent.
“I can give you plenty of ideas on how to discipline, that is the easy part, but I can’t give you the will to do it and to make it stick,” Guarendi said.
For more information visit DrRay.com, or listen to WCKI 1300 AM (Greer/Greenville/ Spartanburg) and WQIZ 810 AM from 1-2 p.m. (St. George/Charleston).