As expectant and new parents, bringing up our children even from when they are babies in love and discipline is essential to their outturn in society. One of the essentials of baby care comes in the form of love. Apart from the obvious need for sustenance to survive, love comes at the top of a baby’s needs, and that continues right through childhood into the teenage years. Most teenagers would not admit it; most young children struggle to express it, and babies cannot express it. But, children of any age need love.
Something else that is needed when bringing up a baby is discipline; a sensible level of discipline from which the child will benefit throughout their adult lives. The application of discipline can seem to become more difficult as a child gets older, in direct proportion to the child’s ability to express themselves assertively. In reality, though, applying discipline to a baby can be every bit as difficult; because it is a much more subtle and less obvious process.
A teenager ignoring your 10 pm curfew is a blatant discipline problem. To some, a one-year-old baby crying because they are being taken from their toys to have a bath and go to bed is not even about discipline, and they may not think of it as such. They love the baby, want him/her to be happy, and, despite knowing that the baby should sleep, feel pity and put her back with his/her toys.
Does a Baby Need Discipline?
Discipline with a child is usually about testing boundaries; the boundaries of what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do. If they do not like the answer, they protest again and again. When the boundary they are trying to break gives way easily, it encourages them to go back and do it again.
If the boundary holds firm, with a consistent parent being calmly unbending, then the baby or infant will give up eventually. Patience and consistency are vital to the discipline, otherwise, the baby will become confused; they will not learn what is acceptable and what is not, if one day you give in to their protests, and on another day you do not.
In the example above, the baby has successfully used tears to get their way against the parent’s better judgment. Bath and bedtime have been delayed, with a two-fold result. Firstly, he/she will not sleep at the time that is best; will become crotchety and overtired, and cry even louder with the next attempt to put him/her to bed. Secondly, success at preventing the bath will bolster them for next time; they has learned that yelling will get their way.
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Discipline has been allowed to evaporate across some Western societies, with a result that teenagers have felt that necessary discipline is absent in their lives. However, there is no need to allow your baby to become just one more in the statistics of undisciplined children.
Does a baby need discipline? the answer is a resounding “yes”.
Can Love and Discipline Mix?
The answer to this is that not only do love and discipline mix, they are mutually essential. Love is not only essential for a happy baby, it also the parents’ most powerful weapon when it comes to discipline. How can that be? By threatening to withdraw your love if the baby is naughty? No, there is no need to make any threats at all. The baby needs love and they adore their parents. You are, in the main, their life. As they recognize you are not happy when they do something wrong, what will discipline them? In the end, is their deep desire for you to be happy with them, to praise them, and to show your love for them.
If a baby’s naughtiness threatens their ideal world, by observing the negative effect on you; the baby will learn to steer things back onto a course where you are happy with them, praise them again, and show your love. They will not only say they are sorry, but they will also mean it because they truly are. To that extent, discipline becomes self-discipline by the baby; if there is enough love in the home to make them yearn for that love more than anything else.
Disciplining any baby is easy, but with sufficient love, it can be a relatively smooth process in bringing up your baby; if you see things from the baby’s point of view, and understand that the baby, deep down, wants to please you more than anything else.
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