Necessity of External Discipline

External discipline is necessary only when self-discipline is either non-existent or underdeveloped.

Todd Beal


About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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8 Responses to Necessity of External Discipline

  1. Hence the need children have for external discipline, which should taper off as they mature. Unfortunately, we see the goverments of the world spending trillions on defense (ostensibly against those who would deprive them of their basic human rights) and law enforcement while corporations spend billions on fraud detection and theft prevention while millions are embezzled by unscrupulous workers. Millions are imprisoned because they are deemed “dangers to society.” What’s happening? Why is all this escalating? Sometimes thinking about this puts me in an apocolyptic frame of mind (reminding me especially of what Paul prophesied in 2 Timothy 3), until I remember that the worse it gets, the closer we must be to the Great and Dreadful Day. What can we do? Paul’s advice to Timothy says it well: “Be thou an example of the believers”. I need to make sure I have self-disclipine and create bright spots in these end times, hopefully helping some of these misguided people see where they can look to for salvation.


    • Todd Beal says:


      Right on target!  The societal woes you mention are certainly the direct result of America’s “Me, Me, Me at the expense of others” mindset.  Discipline begins in the home – I do not mean using one’s child as a whipping post.  Discipline is structure, structure provides freedom, and freedom safeguards our God-designed human rights.  So how do we correct this problem?  Just as you said, let it begin with me; self-discipline.


  2. pbus1 says:

    I find it quite sad, that in many instances, the older some individuals get, the more external discipline they need! The fact that, as Michael said, [millions are imprisoned, and “deemed dangers to society”], is one example of the need for much development in the area of self-discipline. Because an individual wants a particular thing, if they do not have the means to attain it, they should be disciplined enough to simply walk away. Instead, they choose to attempt to steal the item, because they cannot resist the urge to have it, again the Me, Me, at the expense of others attitude, manifests.

    The ME attitude, most likely begins in the home. “Just Say No”, should be on the refrigerators of every home, where youngsters reside. Parents have such a difficult time saying no to their children! They want it, and they should have it, period, end of story. Many times, this inability to say no, causes parents to go into debt, with ridiculous balances on their credit cards! They have no idea, that they are creating “crippled” adults, who will need external discipline, for the rest of their lives, because they were unable to, “just say no”.


    • Todd Beal says:


      I could not agree with you more; I have thought the same thing for many years.  By not saying no to our children, we are creating “me first” monsters.

      I have noticed within my personal life that I no longer appreciate what I receive when I can always have whatever I want.  It is better for me to place personal limits within my daily desires, thus disallowing the tendency of pleasurable activities becoming habitual routine.  For example, if I were to watch a movie every night before going to bed, that pleasure would ultimately lose its meaning to me and become only my habitual routine.

      The more we get the more we want, but isn’t that a good thing?  Of course it is, providing its what we need for that moment in our life.  This requires wise discernment.


  3. I am thinking of a boy we had in club a few years ago. He was caught stealing a video game and his response was “Well, I wanted it. How else could I get it?” – a very “ME” response.

    Paulette’s idea of a “Just say ‘NO'” sticker on the refrigerator is a good one – but as I am against things stuck on refrigerators, I’ll change it to planted in the mind.

    As a child I had NO discipline and I know the problems that caused for me. Someone who hasn’t BEEN disciplined cannot discipline themselves. Thankfully, when the Lord took control of my life, I changed completely and many people say discipline (self discipline) is my second name.

    As an administrator of childrens/teens camps, I agree with your statement. We very seldom found that external discipline was necessary. I can only think of one occasion and that was with a boy on Ritilin and his mother hadn’t packed his medication or informed us of his problems.


    • Todd Beal says:

      Thanks for your real-world examples Angela. Parents would do well to recognize that not punishment, but correctly administered discipline teaches a child how to develop his/her own self-discipline, truly a life skill. However, children always emulate their parents, including behavior that lacks self-discipline. Parents usually forego their ignorance of self-discipline by selfishly demanding their children make up for their personal lack. Instead of structuring themselves first and their children second, Parents mercilessly punish their children through hollering, physical pain, mental and emotional manipulation, denial of privileges, etc. Once again, it all begins with me, self-discipline. Children always learn best through consistent parental example – positive and negative.

      Angela, from your personal experience, how would you best describe the basic methods and benefits of instilling discipline within children?


      • A difficult question to answer without a few hours in which to do it. In our childrens ministry we use POSITIVE discipline 99.9% of the time. Now, I know you’ll ask for a definition of positive discipline, but again this is difficult in a short time. (I partly cover it in two one hour sessions in workshops – but even that isn’t enough).

        Three brief examples in action:
        A boy is causing distractions during a lesson. The leader (without fuss) rewards the child sitting next to him with a small gift for paying attention. The boy gets the message without being humiliated by drawing attention to him.

        A boy is fidgeting with his cap, twirling it etc and distracting others. The leader asks for the cap, sets it on the table and talks to the cap, telling it its behaviour is not acceptable. Everyone enjoys it. The boy got the attention he was seeking but not in a negative way. HE wasn’t berated.

        The second day of camp and a girl really misbehaves at lunch. After lunch the leader talks with her: “Alice, last night when everyone arrived at camp I saw this lovely girl and thought what a great time we would have at camp. I knew she would be a great asset. Do you know what happened to that girl?” Alice: “What girl? I don’t know who you mean.” Leader: “YOU, Alice.” Alice became a great asset at that camp.

        As one who suffered extreme mental abuse for 22 years, I know the effects of negative words and I cannot stand hearing children being mentally abused. A few positive words will do wonders. Trouble makers should always be greeted with a positive and sincere compliment (yes, there is ALWAYS something which can be complimented).

        Children who misbehave often resent being TOLD to do something, so instead of “Put that away” we say “THANK YOU for putting that away” There is no demand, no confrontation – no need for rebellion.

        When a child thinks he is not liked/approved/wanted, or thinks YOU expect him to behave badly – he WILL behave badly. Conversely, when he thinks YOU approve of him and expect him to conform, he will.


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