Discipline means to disciple or guide. “Discipline” is not a bad word, it is a good word! One of the key thing we do in parenting is to guide or disciple a child. The dictionary also says it is “training that develops self-control, character, or increases orderliness or efficiency.” Now doesn’t seem very necessary to have in our lives and in lives of our children?
If our children obey a parent’s voice, they are more ready to hear God’s voice when He calls. Samuel obeyed Eli (because Eli was Samuel’s guardian). Then he was able to hear God calling him in the middle of the night. God told Samuel that all of Eli’s children were going to die because of their disobedience.
Our words of command to our children or our promises to our children are to be followed through almost without fail. They must learn that punishment results from their disobedience, and that when we promise them something, that too will be carried out. They must learn that our words are reliable either way. This teaches them faith and trust in God. For if we can be counted on to carry out our words, then most certainly God will be faithful to carry out His Words. They learn that God can be counted on and that He never fails. They learn also that He punishes when He needs to (like we do), but they also learn His love and His justice (because we are loving and just).
Even Jesus had natural parents that He had to learn to obey.
Heb 12:6 says “the Lord loveth whom He chaseneth.” Proverbs 3:11 also says this, “My son do not reject the discipline of the Lord.”
There is an old claque that says, “spare the rod, spoil the child.”
Well, Proverbs 13:24 says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (more than once).
Proverbs also says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Foolishness is rebellion!
Heb 12:11 says, “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous—nevertheless—afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” And this is what we want more than anything else, the peaceable fruit of righeousness!
All punishment or correction or discipline is for a child’s good; in order to turn them from error and to cause them to go the right way. When a teacher corrects a child’s papers and puts red marks on the wrong answers, she is showing the child that this is not the correct answer, and he must find the right answer to the problem. Much like us, we correct children in order to turn them to the right way from the wrong way.
God’s reason for punishment is “for our profit that we might be partakers of His holiness.” Praise the Lord! It is worth any correction we may have to undergo. We are to have the same motives too. We are not to punish out of anger, frustration, embarrassment, humiliation or any other reason.
If we punish from wrong motives, scream and yell; it does no good. It goes in one ear and out the other. It builds resentment in a child’s heart that can turn to hatred later on if a parent continues in this behavior on a consistent basis, and the child continues to do the same thing again.
Stop the problem before it gets out of hand! Stop the problem before we blow up, after one warning, when we are still emotionally in tact so to speak. For example, when our children are bickering and quarrelling. Stop it right away.
We need to establish consistency in our homes in two areas: consistency in love, and consistency in punishment. Children need both in order to flourish. They need to know where the boundaries are and not to cross them or they will have to suffer the consequences for their actions. They also need to know that they are still loved when they are corrected.
Never Threaten & Not Carry Through
Children will lose respect for your word, and they perhaps won’t trust in God to follow through if they can’t depend upon you to carry through with what you say. First we warn and then follow through. Even if it takes effort and energy, still get up from the chair and follow through! Stop what you’re doing and follow through. I know that sometimes we get lax and swing back the other way, but it is important that we carry out what we say.
Each child is different and what affects one does not affect the other. We have to learn what breaks the sin or rebellion behind their action and what type of action they respond to. Pain and tears usually washes this out and away.
Where to discipline.
We try to never discipline in public, but try to take them aside and do what is necessary, not scolding them in front of others causing embarrassment. This can cause hostility in them. We do not want to humiliate them or make them look stupid or put them down in front of others. That hurts so much. It is worse than the spanking they will get, so take them aside. But DO discipline in love! Then they will know that you love them but just want them to do the right thing. Remember Jesus didn’t reprimand the disciples in front of others, but only when He was alone with them.
How to Discipline
We must be sure to treat all our children fairly and without partiality. They definitely KNOW what is fair and not fair. God usually warns us but if we already know better and do something anyway, that we have been told many times not to do, then correction comes quite quickly. For example, Johnny forgets to take out the garbage every day and everyday you have to remind him to do so, or we tell them “Don’t interrupt when others are talking.” These are two examples that children often do repeatedly if not corrected, and it can’t just continue to go on. These actions must stop! Some form of punishment for their repeated offense must be the result.
We are looking for a heart response as well as their obedience. Just like our Heavenly Father is looking for our heart responses to situations. He knows what is best for us. He knows that chastening is right for us sometimes, and we know what is best for our children and that chastening is right for them sometimes too. But He creates in us a desire to please Him by His love for us. A heart response will result from our children if they feel loved and respected, shown warmth and joy from us. The Bible tells us that, “we love Him because He first loved us.” And the same is true with our children.