How to Use Lecture to Teach Children

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The word discipline is a variation of the word disciple, which means student or follower.  It is my belief that a parent or teacher must strive to teach children many positive lessons as they grow.  Discipline must never involve getting even with the child, making her pay for bad behavior, making her feel regret, or showing who's the boss.  What we must teach them through discipline includes: how to meet their needs appropriately, hear their inner voice for guidance and encouragement, to be self-sufficient, to draw boundaries, to create positive relationships, to solve their own problems, to take care of themselves, and more.  

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It is my opinion that the most effective methods for teaching children must be designed to treat the child with fairness and respect, using unconditional love.  They also differ greatly from the methods used by our parents.  Because of this, they can be challenging for some adults to grasp and master.  

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One particular way of teaching children is to provide lecture. This method usually comes naturally to many adults and is one that was modeled poorly by our parents.  Used inappropriately, it tends to be one-way communication for parental expression of condescending tones and language.  Used in an effective way however, it can instruct and guide the child, but requires some fun and creativity to ensure the child is listening.  

his is especially important for children approaching or in adolescence, when they feel they know more than adults.  One method is to set up the lecture by asking for the child’s permission to say a “silly dad thing.”  Another is to announce that I am about to offer a set of “Dad’s Rules of Life,” or for my stepdaughter, “Bill’s Rules of Life.”  I get the rolling eyes either way, but I know they are listening.  Sometimes I’ve given lectures that were disguised as offering my opinion on a general situation to the other parent, while the child is close by and within listening range.  

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I once wanted to give my stepdaughter an important message on keeping herself safe, but I knew that she might reject the offering at that time.  Instead, I waited until the three of us were in the same room and I began to give my opinion on a situation to my wife, so that my stepdaughter could hear.  I winked so that my wife would get the message.  My stepdaughter listened without any opposition.  

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This post is an excerpt from Bill Corbett’s book, “Love, Limits & Lessons: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Cooperative Kids THE EXPANDED EDTION.”  Purchase a copy of the book at


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