What I learned as a mother and from listening and watching other mothers:
YOU WANT TO DISCIPLINE YOUR CHILDREN SO THEY WANT TO OBEY YOU. This is the goal.
Now that I am a grandmother, I thought I would pass down some of the things I learned. So, please consider the following suggestions for parents. My parents used these, and so did I. These are the ones I culled out that worked. So I thought I would pass them along to you.
1. Raise your voice for danger, not discipline.
You want in your parenting arsenal the power of raising your voice for danger. This is critical for when your children are toddlers and there is danger. If you raise your voice for discipline shouting "no!" for other reasons, your children will either grow up nervous or will ignore their parent's raised voice. There needs to be startle and FRIGHT when a parent raises their voice. Save this for when they will get run over by a car or when kids need to stop what they are doing and look at their parents.
2. Don't get angry with your child.
First off, there is no reason ever to be angry with your child until they are at least of the age of consent—when they are 12 or teenagers. I never got angry with my kids. Ever.
You want your child to obey because it is RIGHT, not because they are afraid of you.
3. Don't have rules you don't follow through with.
Pick out a few rules so you don't overwhelm yourself and your child because you must follow through with the law.
Children understand JUSTICE before they understand mercy. So begin your training of your child with one or maybe two rules—make sure they are worth it—and show them what justice is. If they are told not to do something—like touch an electrical outlet—then you must administer justice if they touch it. So make SURE you choose important battles, because you don't want to have to administer justice with something stupid like, "eat all your food." Choose wisely what you choose to discipline them about. Once they get down one thing and learn to obey with that, gradually add other things one at a time.
4. BE GENTLE and SPEAK KINDLY when you administer justice.
My motto as a mom was "speak softly and carry a spanking spoon." You want to take drama out of discipline. Teach your children, calmly and sweetly, that there are rules that must be followed for their own good and there are consequences to breaking them. Teach them consequences are really not in your hands in life. If you do the crime, you do the time. That's life. Don't make a big deal of it. Swift justice and then ALWAYS tell your children you have faith in them that you know they didn't want to break the rules and will do better next time.
The most precious moments with my dad growing up was when AFTER he would spank us, he would give us a big smile that would tell us that all was righted and then he would tell us what GOOD kids we were and stay with us until we were laughing.
5. Discipline should NOT be drama. I like the simply, happy slogan that Lee Lee used with her children. "Life is messy, clean it up." Kids need discipline, that's life. Don't make a big deal over it. Make your home a place of joy, not stress.
Make sure YOU are disciplined. I see parents ALL THE TIME expect more discipline from their children than they have. This should give you great sympathy for them if you as an adult can't seem to get yourself together. So don't have too high of expectations for your children to behave perfectly.
BE the kind of person you would want your children to be. YOU be their hero by your kindness, your courage and let them see you praying and working hard for them. And be sure and TELL them what you are doing for them so they will know and appreciate it. Kids won't notice if you don't explain it.