To Discipline You Must Win the Face-Off

Toddler boy looks like being disciplinedThe hardest part of discipline is being consistent. See my previous article Consistency in Discipline and my confession in Comments.

Teaching Obedience

I heard a story about a parent trying to get her eighteen-month-old son to stay off the floor she was mopping. The easiest way to do that would have been to put him in a bouncy chair or high chair so he was confined until the floor was dry. I’ve done that. This wise mother, however, wanted to teach her son obedience. So, she sat the little boy back on the carpet and said, “No, do not walk on the kitchen floor. Stay here on the carpet while I mop.”

Persistence in Discipline

Do you think an eighteen-month-old can understand that instruction? Absolutely, especially if the mother is pointing to the appropriate floor as she explains. The young man was determined. The mother picked him up and put him back on the carpet as she repeated her instructions again and again. On the fifteenth time, he looked at her, turned, and walked back to his toys on the carpet. His mother smiled as she finished mopping the floor.

It took fifteen times for that mother to convince her son that she required obedience. But, she won the face-off. Winning a confrontation with an eighteen-month-old may not seem like a big deal, but it is. The reason it’s important is that it lays the foundation for the future when the stakes are higher than foot prints on a freshly mopped floor.

To Discipline Well, You Must Outlast Your Child’s Rebellion

There you have it – one of the specific rules of good discipline: You must never let your child’s persistence wear you down.


Have you had experiences similar to those of this determined mother? Or, what happened when you gave up and let your child have his way…just this once?

The Same Discipline Rule Works with Teens

My next post will be about a good way to apply this rule to a teenager’s rebellion.

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