CHILD DISCIPLINE (Part I)
There are so many voices out there telling you how you should discipline your kids. Save your money because the Bible is the best manual for raising children! Discover God’s ways for dealing with child behavior:
BALANCE: (Eph 6:4) And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. You will need a balance of love and discipline. You can be too harsh or too lenient. Be honest with yourself. Which side do you usually lean towards? If you’re a softie you need to work on being a better disciplinarian. If you are too strict you need to lighten up. Ask God to help you.
AGE APPROPRIATE: (Isa 40:11) He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young. Ask yourself what is age appropriate for your child. From the terrible twos to the trying teens you will need to think through what is best. From taking away a favorite toy or taking away the car keys you will have to make that decision and hold to it.
METHOD APPROPRIATE: (James 1:5) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. Each instance of child disobedience needs God’s wisdom on how to respond and the method of discipline that needs to be implemented. Does this incident deserve a time out? A privilege withheld? A chore? God helps us to prayerfully decide each time.
EACH CHILD DIFFERENT: (Gen 25:23) And the LORD said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.” It is amazing how each child comes out so different. Not only in looks but in disposition and personality. How you discipline one might not work for the other. Some children are strong willed and some are compliant. Be careful that you don’t use blanket methods for all your children.
NECESSITY OF GRACE AND MERCY: (Ezra 9:13) . . . since You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve . . . Avoid disciplining your child in anger. Settle your spirit down and remember God’s mercy!
NOT FUN BUT PROFITABLE: (Heb 12:9-11) Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Discipline is not fun! That’s why many parents avoid dealing with their kids and let a lot of things go. Your kids lose respect for you when you do so. Get off the couch. Take the child out of the store. Get off your phone. Stay on it!
DISCERNMENT: (1 Cor 13:7) (Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Sometimes kids act up because they are tired or hungry or under pressure. Use discernment at these times as you try to ascertain the underlying cause. Take care of the basic needs. Talk about the bully at school or the rejection of being turned down for a date.
RELATIONSHIP: (Deu 6:7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Rules without relationship equals rebellion. Spend time with your kids. Maybe they are acting up because they need your attention!