In order to raise a perfect child, you must first understand what a perfect child is. A perfect child
is a child who’s behavior allows them to do the following things: absorb and retain academic information readily, reflect the values of their parents and community, have socially acceptable behavior, grow up to be a responsible contributing member of society, be honest and trustworthy under extreme circumstances, such as the risk of losing personal liberties.
The key to all of the above plus keeping your child safe from the influences of drugs and alcohol as they grow up is to instill discipline into them.
Of all of the gifts that you can give your child self-discipline is the most important, it is the king of success skills; but what is it, and how do you instill it into others?
The most misunderstood view of discipline is that it is a punishment, it is not.
It feels like a punishment because discipline is a restricting force. To put it plainly, discipline is making your body do something that it doesn’t want to do at that time.
Discipline is a major force in armies around the world. In fact, discipline was created for use in militaries. The Roman military was the first entity to create “Super Soldiers “ by instilling discipline into their troops. Before the Roman Empire, when there was a need to protect one's home and it was done by farmers who were undisciplined. Because of this, a lot of men caught in life-threatening situations on the battlefield simply dropped their weapons and ran away.
The Romans were the first society to have full-time soldiers. In there, training camps discipline was the key element to allow them to invent battlefield configurations that would wipe out entire armies. It was discipline in the ranks on the battlefield that allowed the Roman army to conquer the known world.
The Japanese taking cues from the Romans developed their school system based on the doctrine of discipline. Every student wears the same attire, moves in formation, lines up beside their desk chair and waits for the command to be seated, at lunch they all sit up straight, patiently waiting while everyone is served and when a bell is sounded begins eating at the same time. The incorporation of discipline into the Japanese school system has turned out super students that derive super incomes from jobs.
Here are some things that you will never see: a homeless disciplined person, an obese disciplined person, drug-addicted disciplined people, a domestic violent disciplined person, a financially poor disciplined person, emotionally out of control disciplined people, an undisciplined CEO!
I, literally, can go on all day. In my opinion, the benefits of instilling self-discipline into a child are huge and far outweigh any other gift that you can bestow upon them.
Discipline is more than just acknowledging another person’s rank or authority and belting out “Yes Sir” all the time. To successfully instill discipline into someone you must change their entire environment (By making soldiering a full-time profession that is exactly what the Romans were able to do). Every facet of their lives must be structured, nothing can be left out.
I joined the Army when I was younger. When I reached the base for basic training and got off of the bus my Drill Sargent was waiting for me. Before my feet could hit the pavement he was in my ear barking out the do’s and don’t under his command.
I was to respond to him at all times with “Yes Drill Sargent or No Drill Sargent”. I was to speak with a certain projection of volume in my voice; make eye contact; throw my shoulders back; stand up straight, and never get caught moping around. I was to walk like I had a purpose.
That was just the start. When he took us to the barracks, we were shown how to make our beds, keep our closet and footlocker in order; our belt buckle had to be a certain length from the loop; our shirt had to be tucked into our pants with military precision; the collars of our shirt had to be turned down the exact same length; brash medals that we received had to be placed on the collar of our shirt at “ regulation” distance; not only did our shoes have to be shined to a certain brilliance but they had to be stored beneath the bed a certain way; he moved to the bathroom and told us, in no uncertain terms, exactly how we were to keep the bathroom clean; toothbrush bristles up; toothpaste cap screwed on tight; no toothpaste smears on the sink; no toothpaste, hairspray, or soap sprinkle residue on the mirror; the toilet must be wiped and clean; even the floor had to be free of sprinkle residue from peeing.
We were taught how to address officers; how to sit up straight in the mess hall; even how to eat. Finally, we were taught how to walk. (You can tell if someone is in the military because they walk with a cadence.)
An interesting thing about our society is that we started off, as a new nation, as a society that heaped huge amounts off discipline on our young.
American children were taught to get dressed in their best formal attire to attend church, school, theater, movies, etc. There was a “seen and not heard” policy when children entered into a room where adults were talking; before getting into bed children were expected to kneel at bedside and say their prayers; parents were referred to as “Sir and Ma’am”, when you were given a directive you didn’t quibble, argue or complain out loud, etc.
Then something happened: that something is that children who grew up in the “spare the rod, spoil the child’ generation hated it so much that they gave their children too much independence as they grew up. Slowly but surely, and little by little generation after generation allowed their child to break away from the discomfort of discipline.
In my option because of the loss of discipline in the home and in schools, the U.S. once the leader in healthcare and education now ranks 27th in the world, down from 6th in 1992.
People love their children dearly and a lot of people believe that they are doing the right thing by making their child their friend and confidant. Not only are children not prepared morally, intellectually, or emotionally to play that role but think of it would you try to discipline your friend? The natural structure of learning is broken.
A structure of learning is different from a structure of friendship. A structure of friendship is one of equals with shared ideas and values. In a friendship relationship, neither person will willingly subordinate their values or ideas to the other. This makes the installation of conceptual ideas impossible. In a structure of learning the recipient of the idea must be in a subordinate posture in order to readily receive and digest the information.
Now a day it’s not uncommon for kids to call, not only adults but, their parents by their first names; curse out loud; decide what’s for dinner; embarrass their parents by not listening to them in public; tell their parents what they are and are not going to do; decide when to go to bed; go to school and church in a t-shirt; boys idolize prison fashion by letting their pants fall below their waists exposing their rears; boys show a total disrespect for girls by calling them bitches and ho’s; just the other day I witnessed a young women and her friend, standing in a grocery line, using the F word while conversing behind a mother and infant.
Without discipline people will resort to there lowest impulses when dealing with emotions that they don’t like. In fact, without discipline kids that are not predisposed to act unruly, will act unruly to fit in. This kind of behavior is not only uncool it is unsafe and only has disastrous consequences.
If you are serious about instilling discipline into your child, for a period of time, they must be raised the same way as if they were in a military boot camp and it has to be a full-time endeavor.
This to the average person sounds like a daunting task that most people will reject out of hand, but think of this. If you are a parent, you probably made the parent’s pledge (I know my wife and I did). The one that goes something like this, “ I love him/her so much, I would do anything for him/her to keep them safe”.
Well, prove it.
The truth about discipline is that discipline not only keeps you safe it makes you trainable and therefore employable.
On a battlefield a highly disciplined person will survive when others around are dying; a disciplined person won’t succumb to peer pressure; disciplined people won’t succumb to drugs, sex, bribes, etc.; disciplined people do better in school thus get better jobs; disciplined persons accomplish goals; disciplined people finish what the start; disciplined people have good work habits and are sought after by bosses; finally, disciplined persons tend to be healthier because of good exercise habits thus live longer.
The benefits of infusing discipline into your child far out weights the discomfort of instilling it.
We even teach our dogs to respond on command so that they won’t run out into the street and get hit by a car. Yet some people let their children sash them, talk back to them, and totally disregard instructions given with immediacy and urgency.
When instilling discipline into your child remember that, when the going gets tough and you want to give up, you will never see a disciplined felon or failure. Good luck!
Here is my outline to instill discipline into your child. I recommend the guideline for the U.S. military, therefore; like in military basic training, the actual installation of discipline should only take about eight to twelve weeks of concentrated effort. After that, all you should have to do is be consistent with what you have outlined.
All children even small ones should be introduced to discipline environmentally, In other words your home should have an “everything has a place and everything in its place rule”: beds should, not just, be made every day there should be an exact configuration; toothpaste caps should be tightened on the tube; shoes should be placed neatly under the bed, in the closet, or against a wall with socks in the toes; clothing should be folded or hung up (never thrown around); there should be strict eating times and places; household events should be given a specific time that family members stick to t.v.time, bedtime, reading time, study time, dog walking and feeding times, etc.
At the same time that you introduce your child to environmental discipline, you should introduce him/her to personal discipline.
Personal discipline comes in three forms: timed, mental, and physical. Of the three, timed discipline is the easiest to learn and should be taught first: time to read, walk the dog, brush teeth, etc.
Physical discipline is the second easiest to teach and should be taught through posture: sit up straight at the dinner table, walk erect (no slouching), when greeting someone makes eye contact stand erect shoulders back when conversing don’t allow the head to slump to the side, etc.
Because mental discipline is the hardest it is normally mastered last (although it is mastered last you should begin teaching it at the same time as physical discipline).
Mental discipline is especially hard to teach today because we are a much more indulgent society. A lot of adults allow their children to talk back, express their opinion about what they were just told to do, engage in adult conversations and engage in obstinate behavior. That is a recipe for disaster and will derail your discipline program before it begins.
Mental discipline is what controls the physical discipline you can not have one without the other.
The starting points of mental discipline are courtesy and respect. When a child remembers to say please and thank-you they are demonstrating the begin acquisition of mental discipline.
A catapulting force in the acquisition of discipline is the use of “Sir and Ma’am”.
When a child uses the title of “Sir or Ma’am” they are acknowledging their position as a subordinate. It is instinctively very hard for anyone much less a child to do this; when a child does this willingly they have demonstrated an ability to master their inner self and their emotions. Words that sabotage the installation of personal and mental discipline are “ please and thank you” by an instructor trying to instill discipline.
In this day and age, a lot of people feel that by using the reflection teaching method they will get a child a copy their example. In other words, if you the adult tell a child to do something and say please and then thank you the child will be a reflection of you and mimic the courtesy. This very rarely works. Instead what the child feels is that they are your peer and starts to believe that you need to be polite to them before they should have to do something. You will never hear a drill instructor say, By the way before breakfast each day please make up your bed.
The installation of discipline is not a working relationship between a couple of friends. It is strictly lead-follow, I am the teacher, you are the student I’m not asking you to do something, I’m telling you to do it.
Psychologically, when a person in an authoritative position (like a Judge) tells you to do something difficult or uncomfortable you do it whether you like it or not. On the other hand, if a person in an authoritative position asks you to do something difficult or uncomfortable you may choose not to do it. The installation of discipline should not be a choice.
Note: The younger the person is that you are trying to instill discipline into the easier it is. It is extremely difficult to get a teenager who has been allowed to not control themselves and their emotions to submit to a subordinate role. In my opinion, if a child won’t listen to you by the time they are eight or nine the battle may not be lost but you are going to have one helluva fight!
Lastly Fear of consequence, real or imagined, is the chief motivating force to molding behavior. Kids respond to kindness only for so long, then their natural desire to run free overcomes their common sense.
With maturity comes confidence the spell of fear is broken.
Good parenting is an extremely difficult full-time job that takes a lot of sacrifices. A lot of parents think, mistakenly, that they can nice guy their child into being the person that they want. That never works. Bending rules and allowing a child unlimited freedom of expression is a recipe for disaster that, to my knowledge, never turns out well.
If you are the kind of person who understands the importance of the concept of discipline but knows that you are not well equipped to instill It I recommend the following, enroll your child into a martial arts class. Martial arts schools are really military schools for civilians. In fact, the word martial literally means military and martial arts means “Military Way”.
May you have everything that you want, and want everything that you have.