How to Balance Grace and Discipline with Your Kids | Tony Dungy

How to Balance Grace and Discipline with Your Kids

We have ten kids and so we have a lot of issues with keeping our kids on track. I actually just read Proverbs yesterday where it says something along the lines of Train up a child in the way he should go…guide him down the right path…and when he’s older he won’t leave it. The question is how do you really guide them? How do you keep them on the right path? How do you discipline kids? There is a balance between the nurturing side, knowing kids make mistakes and thinking back to the days where I was a child, and the discipline side. Communicating to them, You have to do the right things. If you do the wrong things it will hurt you in the long run. As a result, you are going to suffer consequences.

This is the way I have always approached grace and discipline with my kids.


Discipline is not punishment.

There can be punishment, but discipline is thinking, what can I do to modify behavior and mold a heart in the right direction. One thing I always have to remember is that everyone is different. Some kids respond to verbal communication, some respond to having privileges taken away, and some you have to get a little firm with. Knowing the child will help you determine what type of discipline gets them back on track.

But I still have to remember…

There were plenty of things that I did wrong when I was a child. My parents molded and shaped me with discipline. However, there was grace involved. There has to be a balance.


Tony Dungy says that being a father is his most important job, and with six children, it’s a job that keeps him very busy. Since his retirement from the NFL in January, Coach Dungy and his wife, Lauren, are enjoying their first real “off season” from professional football at their home in Tampa.

Coach Dungy’s fatherhood role model is his own dad, Wilber Dungy. Tony grew up in Michigan, and says his father was always there to support him and encourage him. From him, Tony says, he learned that being a good father takes commitment and compassion.

Quite simply, Coach Dungy loves being a dad. He says a good friend gave him some very important advice years ago, that he still tries to live by. The advice is this: fathers need to cherish whatever stage their children are in instead of wishing for the next one to hurry up and get here, because before you know it, that stage will be over, never to return again.

This article was published with direct permission from the author.