The idea of being a strict disciplinarian is fraught with problems.
The idea that harshness equals discipline is being disproved again and again.
In fact, studies have shown that the authoritarian approach to childrearing results in children who are withdrawn, lack spontaneity, and have fewer signs of having a conscience.
This is not to say that child discipline is a bad thing: it is just that fathers need a bit of a push so that they find the middle ground between too much and not enough.
Some dads are quite frankly discipline junkies. They can’t see the difference between harshness and real discipline, nor between discipline and punishment. Simply put, discipline teaches, punishment punishes.
The happy thing for these kinds of dads is that they can start discipline early. The bad news for them is that you begin discipline by forming an attachment with the child [Attachment parenting]. And the attachment will go both ways. This is not an easy thing or a quick thing. In short, care for the baby.
Begin the mantra now: clean the baby, feed the baby, change the baby, rock the baby – repeat ad infinitum. What has this got to do with discipline? Everything.
This is how a baby develops trust. You can’t tell the baby to trust you; you can’t convince the baby to trust you. You have no rank invested on you that the baby will respond to. You must show the baby they can trust you.
Once that is established, then you can move on. Now you can build trust – the real basis for discipline. Children obey people they trust. Pain gets you compliance, not obedience.
And if you can’t see the difference, think of it this way. True discipline comes from doing something because you want to, not because you are told to. And that exalted state comes from trust.
And trust begins from being a source of comfort first and foremost – authority comes only after that. Share the child’s life, their joys, and their accomplishments–in short, their lives. This way you can really being to be an authority figure. In fact, then it will be easy, you have already done the hard part.
Don’t be stingy with praise or positive reinforcements. Never assume that a child knows how you feel. Children are experiential and they have to experience you and your feelings. Be open to your child and then the details of discipline will fall readily into place.