One of my favorite tips (or one of the few I can remember!) from a little Love and Logic parenting class I took while we lived in Texas, was this:
When trying to solve a parenting problem the first step, before punishments, consequences, time outs and the like is to make sure you are playing with the child for at least 20 minutes a day, each day.
It sounds too simple. It sounds counterintuitive if the child is misbehaving. Is it a reward?
At least in my opinion, it does. I love this tip because it is compassionate. Compassion is so fundamental to Christianity that it needs employed in Christian parenting at all times, in my opinion. It also works because I have found that much of children's "misbehavior" is really just a warning that a need isn't being met. I feel this way because I believe children under the age of 8 are innocent and incapable of sin. Therefore...if what they are doing causes problems, it is often a symptom of something *I*can work on or change or teach, etc.
Often times my children are going through a poor behavior/fit throwing phase it is during a confusing or difficult time in which I am invariably paying less attention to them (new baby, move, frustrations in my own life). As we both feel the joy and smiles that come while we are playing together I am reminded of their sweetness and they are reminded of my love. The change that comes about lasts throughout the day.
The reason they taught this in that class was to establish a foundation on which to build the discipline structure and for the child to have the trust necessary to carry out the discipline. Interestingly, as they taught, and I have noticed, most times no other "discipline" is needed. 20 minutes of one on one play is a pretty fun way to solve family problems, I have to say!