Do you struggle to discipline in your home in an appropriate way? Discipline is indeed a tough subject…literally. Discipline is hard…it’s not fun and it’s painful in literal and figurative senses. Take a look at this passage…
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace the Bible says. Peace…isn’t that something sorely lacking in a lot of homes? Why? Because often…there is a lack of discipline…plain and simple. It’s just easier to “go along to get along.”
Take a look at the words of the wisest man who ever lived (next to Christ of course), Solomon. See the admonitions to discipline in Proverbs:
Discipline from the Proverbs:
- Proverbs 10:17 He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
- Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
- Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.
- Proverbs 13:18 He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
- Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
- Proverbs 15:10 Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.
- Proverbs 15:32 He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.
- Proverbs 16:20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
- Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
- Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.
- Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
- Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
- Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
- Proverbs 23:26 My son, giver me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.
- Proverbs 29:15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
- Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.
- Proverbs 30:17 The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.
So, we see we are to discipline…but how can you tell if disobedience and a lack of discipline are prevalent in your home? See if you can answer these questions honestly about your children or grandchildren. If you find yourself answering “yes” to a lot of these…then, you’ve probably got a problem. So, let’s see!
- Your child can’t say, “NO” to himself
- They are self-absorbed
- When they sin, they habitually deny responsibility…nothing is ever their fault
- They blame others or you if something doesn’t go right for them
- They resent work, chores or responsibility and are lazy and tend to run from “work” around the house
- They roll their eyes, huff, puff and sigh when asked to do simple things
- Taking “initiative” is a foreign concept to them…they have to be asked to do anything
- They act ungrateful for the food, clothes and shelter they’ve been provided
- They complain, whine and moan about things constantly and get visibly angry if they don’t get their way
- They’re preoccupied with fun, excitement, entertainment and self-gratification and are frequently bored
Does this describe your home to some degree? Well…let me tell you…my house “ain’t” perfect either! We constantly have to work hard to make sure we are using the Scriptures to teach. Because we must remember that:
#1 Our child were born sinful even though he/she may be cute as a button
#2 Sin is bound in the heart of a child (so this is a lifetime battle to train and admonish)
#3 Sin is not a laughing matter
Here are some key thoughts to consider:
- All behaviors are linked to a particular attitude of the heart. We must ask questions (questions to find out what is going on in the heart.)
- The Bible is our primary tool to teach and train our children in righteousness. (Eph. 4:22-24)
- It really is important for children to know they are sinners against God, not you. Later, when salvation comes into play…knowing this will make all the difference in them understanding their need for a Savior. It is true that some children don’t know they are sinners!
- If a child is disobedient in how they speak or react…”role play” the right response with them so they’ll know what the correct response really is. If you don’t…they’ll get exasperated and perhaps not understand how they should respond in a Christ-like way.
- Never reward sinful behavior—whining, manipulation, etc.
- Stay away from “worldly methods” to attain obedience…stay away from these:
- Bribing, threatening, appealing to their emotions, manipulating their environment (moving things around), reasoning (you don’t have to explain everything to them)
- Don’t wait until your teapot boils! Don’t let discipline go until you get angry. That only teaches your child to act in anger when they get angry or frustrated.
So, we know that we should discipline and do so appropriately therefore:
- How many times should you have to ask for something to be done? Once.
- Should you have to count? No. That’s silly.
- When should you expect obedience?
*Immediately (not later or in a few minutes, they must do it right away)
*Completely (not partially, if they don’t pick up all their dirty clothes for instance…then it’s not complete obedience)
*Dutifully (with a good attitude…if they huff and puff and roll their eyes, that’s not dutifully)
“It is right that children should obey their parents and no further question need be asked, no further reason for obeying need be sought.” J.R. Miller
I’m convinced as our children’s parents (the word “parent” in Latin –in loco dei-means “in the place of God”), we’re not called to be their best buddy, friend or pal. It doesn’t mean that we want them to NOT like us; it just means that God has not called us to run a popularity contest. So how do we regain control if we’ve let discipline slip in the home?
How to regain control of obedience if you’ve lost it
- You must expect your children to obey your word…no questions asked. (Explain after the obedience comes…just like with God!)
- Speak a command one time, calmly and clearly. Don’t threaten. If “bucked,” follow through with discipline. (But don’t discipline in anger.) Be consistent!
- Don’t allow the child to argue with you. You are not trying to “persuade” your child to obey, you are “expecting” your child to obey.
- Again, take off the “Camp Counselor” badge (trying to be your child’s buddy or pal)…be their parent.
I’m convinced there are really only three types of parents? See which category you fall into:
#1 Permissive–Doing everything for the child. You want to be their friend. But what you’ve become is the child’s slave and they run the house. You are constantly snow plowing your child’s road for them. You do everything for them and you are afraid to tell them no. You are running a Holiday Inn instead of a home. In essence, “the inmates are running the asylum.”
Permissive Parents allow “child-run” homes and will be heard saying things like:
- I can’t make that for dinner at our house, the kids just won’t eat it.
- I prepare meals in two batches—one for my husband and me and one for the kids.
- We can’t have that family over to the house, their children are so much younger than ours that ours wouldn’t enjoy them.
- We can’t go there, the kids would get bored.
- We can’t take our kids into the church service, they’d never last.
- We won’t be able to go, our little Princess just doesn’t do well in those situations.
- We’ll probably be changing teachers or possibly schools because our little Bobby doesn’t enjoy Mrs. So & So.
- Junior refuses to…
- Susie just won’t put up with…
- I don’t want her to hate me…
- You bribe with treats and TV…
It’s been said that whatever we, as parents, allow in moderation our children will take to excess!
#2 Authoritarian—You as a parent are always right and you “Lord” over the child with an iron fist and run the home like a dictator. There is fear and worry as the parent barks out orders. The child never feels secure in this environment and internalizes fear and doubt. Children in this environment stay in the cocoon and some can even become bitter, angry and violent in later years.
#3 Authoritative and Responsive—this is the parent that finds that middle ground and has realistic expectations based on the child’s age, temperament and maturity. This is the parent that loves the child unconditionally, but has expectations of them nonetheless. They are responsive to disobedience without reacting in anger and hostility. There are consequences for disobedience that are fair and expressed ahead of time. The discipline is consistent and loving. There are no entitlements in the home and there are no Holiday Inns. This parent knows the secret about what all children want and it’s this: All children, by and large, want to please their parents and they want their parent’s respect. Short and sweet, they want us and want us to be proud of them.
Discipline. Is it fun? No, not really. But peace….oh yes…that intangible commodity that can’t be bought…oh yes…wonderful peace…that’s what we’re after…peace that is brought by a righteous lifestyle that is trained by discipline. May God help us as we obey His Word.
10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:10-12