We had our homeschool co-op today, and since I was on assist-the-photo-class duty during first period, I came into the moms' group late. The topic of the day was discipline. There wasn't a whole lot of time for discussion, so I'm pondering out loud here.
First thought: Discipline comes from the same root as disciple, and relates more to teaching than to punishment. One good clue that a discipline method isn't effective is if the child isn't learning what you want. If it consistently doesn't work, it's time to try another mode of instruction.
Second thought: It takes a lot of self-discipline to implement a consistent system of discipline! Last night I hauled out Transforming the Difficult Child again, and it didn't take me long to figure out where I swerved off course yesterday. I am always amazed by how I think I've absorbed a lesson, only to find I've barely internalized 75% of it. This is so true across so many areas of my life that I ought to be more understanding when my children forget the basics. I mean, it's not as if I've even got the First Commandment completely down pat yet, and I've been working on it for years! But perhaps humility lies in the 25% of the lesson that I easily forget.
Third thought: We need to be careful not to focus on our kids' character issues without addressing our own. We all need discipline.
One of the mixed blessings of being a parent is that our kids bring out our weaknesses. We may moan about how they push our buttons, but the salient point is that our kids help us realize we have all those buttons. I daresay that each button my kids push is connected to a character weakness within myself. Having to face that regularly gives me insight into what I need to work on to become a better person.