Discipline Is Like A Battery

You know, there are those who believe so strongly in the value of positive thinking that they see nothing to be gained from that which is negative. Well, I respectfully disagree.

It's the balance between the positive and the negative that provides the benefit. Let me illustrate.

If you place the cable on the positive pole of a car battery, nothing happens. You can put it in your mouth, there will be no danger. Then take that cable off the positive and put it on the negative pole. There's still no electricity. But what happens when you hook up both the positive and the negative poles? It'll curl your hair, if you have any left.

Understanding the interaction between these two forces is especially useful to the task of raising children.

There's a time for affirmation and closeness and tenderness and love. That's what nourishes the spirits of our kids. But there's also a time for correction and discipline and maybe even occasional punishment.

Moms and dads who try to be eternally positive, ignoring irresponsibility or defiance or selfishness in their children, will deprive those boys and girls of the benefits of correction. But those who are oppressive and accusatory can also create serious behavioral problems.

So what's our goal as parents? It's to balance the positive and the negative, making sure that the cable is hooked to both poles of the battery. That's where the power is found.

With Focus on the Family, I'm Dr. James Dobson.

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