Fatherhood is…Discipline

One of the main roles of a father is discipline.

It is very common to see a household where the mother is the leader of affection, while the father maintains the lead in discipline. This is not to say these are the only functions of parenting, but the most common amongst all men and women.

There are two forms of discipline required by all men to effectively father their children. External discipline and internal discipline.

Webster-Merriam defines external discipline as…“Control that is gained by requiring that rules or orders be obeyed and punishing bad behavior”. This kind of discipline is targeted towards a particular action that is taken against a set of rules or expectation.

Another definition from Webster-Merriam gives us an idea of internal…“A way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules or orders”. This kind of discipline is personal. It is what you hold yourself accountable to.

Raising children requires both. In fact, the greater your internal discipline becomes the more effective your external discipline becomes. Men who are personally more controlled and structured through internal discipline tend to succeed more in life and in raising their children.

I love the way Jim Rohn describes discipline…

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment”

Whatever you want your children to achieve in their life is going to require discipline. You must first discipline them in love so they know right from wrong. Then you must show them how to live a disciplined life as a prerequisite to achieving their goals.

This is where modeling becomes important. It is your effective exercise of discipline that your kids will listen to and follow. Not what you tell them to do, but what they see you do.

As fathers we are called to live a life full of discipline. We do not have the luxury to go about things haphazardly and casual hoping things will figure themselves out.

Your children need to see your disciplined approach to life. From keeping consistent employment to reading and praying daily. They need to see you model the same discipline you are raising them to have in their life.

How To Give Discipline

In order to give discipline you must first be willing to continually receive discipline. This is where it may get a bit tricky for some of you fathers out there.

You cannot give what you do not own, and there are a lot of men who want their children to be disciplined but they have not effectively received discipline in their life.

For every man there are 3 sources he should always be receiving discipline from. Do a self check and ensure you have at least 2 in place. They are…

  • Discipline from your earthly father
  • Discipline from your spiritual father (or mentor)
  • Discipline from your heavenly father

Ideally you should have all three, but most men will lack the discipline from their earthly father given so many young men have grown up without a father figure in the home. However, that is no excuse or valid reasoning to not start working on it now that you are aware.

This is key because every leader should be following someone. Every father should have someone who can challenge them to be better, instruct them in tough life situations, and discipline them when necessary.

So if you want to effectively discipline your child, make an extra effort to make sure you are receiving discipline yourself and exemplifying it in your every day life.

The Requirement of Discipline

Lastly, in order for discipline to be fully received by your children it must be done in love. It is the single, most important requirement when it comes to discipline.

You discipline your children out of love…

“For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” ~ Proverbs 3:13 NLT

And you discipline yourself out of love…

“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT

Love is required for both.

Love properly prepares the table for discipline to be served.

Love is the cornerstone of discipline.

As a true father you must display unquestionable love towards your children. They should feel your love even without you saying it. If this love is not in place your discipline can turn into spite towards you.

They will only be able to see the punishment instead of the love that brought the punishment. Without love as the anchor there will be no way for them to trust it was done for their good.

However, with love in place their spirit is open to receive the true intent of your discipline. Not that it will make it any easier, or that they won’t still be mad at you. It will make it effective.

Discipline given in love is one of the greatest gifts a man can give his child. It is something that every child hates, but will appreciate as their mind matures and they start dealing with life on their own.

So I’d like you to challenge your discipline as a father. Check yourself and see if the love required for your discipline to be effective is present.

Do you love yourself enough to discipline your body?

Do you love your children enough to discipline them when you don’t feel like it or don’t want to hurt their feelings?

If you cannot answer Yes to both it is not a shot against your fatherhood. It just gives you something higher to aim for as you evolve as a father.

What are your thoughts on discipline? Are there specific ways of discipline you have found to be more effective than others? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…