The most difficult practice of my life, as of yet, is disciplining my children. I hate to see them suffer and go through their young-life crisis.
However, this must not stop me from teaching my children. Discipline and teaching go hand in hand, for, they are synonymous with each other. We all want to be wise and avoid being fools. Going to Scripture for wisdom is where I want to go for 5 ways to be wise in disciplining children.
5 Ways to be Wise in Disciplining
1. Love your children by disciplining them
To not physically discipline a child is to hate them. This is a hard pill for some people to swallow, but this is consistent with what the Bible teaches. Proverbs 13:24 says to spare the rod is to hate the child, but to discipline is to love. As parents, we know what is best for our children. Permitting our children to continue in sin is a red flag that we love ourselves more than we love God and our children. Children are sinners and as parents, we should strive to minimize our children’s sin by correcting their errors.
2. Discipline for a Good Reason
I am guilty of disciplining my children in anger. I have been frustrated with working on my daughter to not touch the toilet–DISEASE! Or to not dig in the trash can–GROSS! Paul Washer has encouraged me to remember that God is patient with me even when I repeatedly sin. This humbles me. I need to discipline my children for their benefit (Heb. 12:10)–not out of anger to vent.
3. Show Children Their Faults
Explain to children where they go awry. Show them their faults which are opposite to God’s Word. Bring the Word of God into your conversation to give a proof that their actions are contrary to God’s teachings. Of course, the child’s age must be kept in mind. My husband has to tell me constantly that I cannot reason with my 2 year old. When children are young, physical discipline is the most effective means of training. When the children are becoming men and women, being able to reason could be more appropriate. Of course, Proverbs 19:18 implores us to discipline ‘while there is hope’–meaning, while they are young and moldable.
4. Be Consistent
There was once a boy who grew up with an inconsistent mother. One day, he was allowed to play with a toy gun and the next day he was harshly disciplined for doing that with which he was allowed to do the previous day. Back and forth. The boy never knew what he was allowed to do and not do. As parents, we need to be consistent and let our yes be yes, and our no, no. Children will be more secure in their relationship with their parents when the boundaries are set and enforced.
One of the most unloving things you can do to your children is to be inconsistent.
5. Do not discourage your children, but build them up
I was nearly brought to tears the day I heard a man’s story of when his father rebuked him too harshly at a young age. This man became discouraged and it affected him for the rest of his life. Children are both resilient and sensitive and we must constantly ask the Lord to give us wisdom in disciplining. Physical discipline should be followed with showers of love and affection. When the children are able to understand, encouraging them and building them up should be a goal. Hebrews 10:24 can be applied to the parent-child relationship. We should spur our children on to love and good works. Encourage, build, and mold these young minds for the glory of God and for His kingdom.
To Close, a prayer from the hymn, “A Christian Home.”
O give us homes built firm upon the Saviour,
Where Christ is Head, and Counselor and Guide;
Where ev’ry child is taught His love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the crucified:
How sweet to know that tho’ his footsteps waver
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!
For Further Discussion:
A review from an excellent read: Dealing with Sin in our Children