Intro to Loving Discipline

We all hope that one day (soon) our kids will begin wiping their own butts, get along with each other, and do their work without us having to badger them.

But how do we help our children become self-disciplined without

  1. Closing them down emotionally?
  2. Dousing their desire to “do the right thing” on their own?
  3. Stunting their development and authenticity?
  4. Ruining the relationship along the way?

Receive the Loving Discipline 1-Hour Intro FREE!

(A 1-hour audio of the first of the 7-module class
along with chapter 1 of the Loving Discipline ebook)

What is Discipline?

One definition of discipline is “to develop control over one’s behavior.” Instead of hitting someone when we don’t get our way, we learn to use our words and communicate respectfully. In place of shouting out in class, we raise our hands instead. We become increasingly able to act in respectful and responsible ways as we grow and mature. That is self-discipline and it actually leads to greater freedom and opportunities in life.

“Discipline leads to freedom.”
– The Buddha

Another related definition is “to teach.”

I had to discipline my daughter today for her misbehavior.”

Many people equate “punishment” with discipline, but the research is clear that punishment teaches very little in the way of healthy self-discipline. In response to the obvious downsides of punishments, other discipline approaches have more recently emphasized rewards and praise. But rewards and praise are simply the other side of a flawed approach: behaviorism.

The narrow form of behaviorism is the belief that you can simply reward good behaviors and punish bad ones and out pops a self-disciplined individual. Carrots and sticks work great for dogs and other animals, but when used on humans it actually stunts their growth. Treat a child like a dog and you will get obedience or a growler; not a self-motivated, self-directed being who wants to be respectful, responsible, and fully herself.

“We have a cultural notion that if children were not engineered, if we did not manipulate them, they would grow up as beasts in the field. This is the wildest fallacy in the world.”
— Joseph Chilton Pearce

What is Loving Discipline?

Loving Discipline (LD) is an approach to helping children develop healthy self-discipline and grow into their full potential in life. And it all starts with relationship.

“Discipline is the obligation of relationship.”
— Frank Marrero

Loving Discipline starts with the observation that children have a natural drive to steer their own ship, to become more and more responsible for their lives, to engage in respectful and fulfilling relationships, and to discover their gifts, develop their talents, and find a way to eventually share them with the world. The development of self-discipline — which is ultimately the capacity for wise and compassionate action — requires that caregivers provide five essential elements of relational nourishment to their children. These elements are unconditional love, space, mentorship, healthy boundaries, and “mis-takes.”

Many of today’s “discipline methods” fall short when it comes to providing the necessary nourishment for children to grow into their full potential. Harsh and authoritarian approaches lack the unconditional love and space that kids need to feel safe, retain their sense of individuality, and remain emotionally open. Children exposed to constant puppeteering with carrots and sticks often end up feeling like an “it,” and either collapse into helplessness or become perpetually engaged in a war against authority. Children who grow up without healthy guidance and boundaries tend to remain narcissistic, impulsive, and socially challenged because they have not had the practice required to become responsible and respectful. Children need a wide variety of experiences to grow up whole, healthy, and capable of making their way in this increasingly complex world.

The Loving Discipline approach is grounded in the latest neuroscience and psychological research on how children are best supported in reaching their full potential. Here are some of the basic tenets:

  • Focus on the long-term development of self-discipline more than merely obtaining short-term compliance. If you simply go for approaches that get immediate short-term compliance, you will be setting yourself up for lifetime of parenting.
  • Learn to see deeper than behavior into the underlying mind and brain of your child. Approaches that merely judge behaviors as good or bad — and reward or punish accordingly — never discover the underlying needs of the child and never get to the root of the problem.
  • Children require a whole variety of experiences to grow up whole, healthy, and reach their full potential. Children need — over the course of the days and years of their lives — five essential elements of relational nourishment: unconditional love, space, mentorship, healthy boundaries, and “mis-takes.” These same elements are necessary whether they are behaving well or poorly.
  • Meet your child’s needs before the misbehavior occurs. When kids needs are met they feel better, function better, and more easefully grow into self-disciplined individuals. When you meet their needs consistently, their acting-out behaviors will drop significantly.
  • When “misbehavior” occurs, the response is still the same: discover the need and meet it. Sometimes “misbehaving” children simply need some attention and to feel like they matter to you. Sometimes they need some space to “do it themselves” without your interference. At other times, they need modeling of “how we do it around here.” Some moments require a firm, clear boundary about what is not acceptable, and then room for them to find another way. At other times, a child needs to not get her way and still have loving arms in which to cry her tears of disappointment. Each attuned and nourishing act waters a different part of their developing psyche.
  • Loving Discipline is our practice arena in becoming more self-disciplined. As parents, we all are pushed to our edge and we make mistakes. This is Life’s way of growing us up into our full potential. Learn to see these “mis-takes” as opportunities to repair with your children, to not sink into self-judgment and shame, and to become more humble and resilient in the face of this awesome challenge our soul has signed us up for.

If you want to learn more about the Loving Discipline approach,

Receive the Loving Discipline 1-Hour Intro FREE!

(A 1-hour audio of the first of the 7-module class
along with chapter 1 of the Loving Discipline ebook)

(We respect your email privacy.)

In this complimentary first module of my 7-Module Loving Discipline Course you will learn …

  • A new vision of discipline
  • The 5 primary styles of discipline
  • The 4 questions you need to ask yourself before choosing any style of discipline
  • How discipline styles affect brain development and behavior
  • Plus access to key insights and practices that you can get started with right away!

Or check out

the Complete

Loving Discipline Home Course


“…a top-notch and innovative program that can totally transform the way we live.” – Nora, mother of two, freelance writer