All children are to be disciplined with tough-love. Instead of giving proper punishment, we tend to coddle, show indulgence, or reveal our indifference. Our teachers and parents should study the methods of discipline best fitted for the occasion and to the individual. The Apostle Paul said, “Parents, provoke not your children to wrath.”. Punishment should benefit the child and check anger. Neither should parents discipline when angry. Clear thinking makes for self-control and clear judgment. Love explains to the child the reason for the punishment and teaches consequences for wrong actions. A discipline administered with love brings the child back to his parent faster than he went away. Did you know that the deepest pain of punishment to your disobedient child is the lost of fellowship with his loving parent? He returns to you with a cleansed heart and uplifted arms while saying “Mama, Daddy, I love you!” Then fellowship is restored. This is the way it is when a Christian sins and returns to God in repentance.
Are you aware that when you discipline your little ones, you are taking on a likeness to the way God disciplines us when we sin? “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.” (LASB). As you read Hebrews 12:5-13, you will discover the necessity of chastisement, the spirit of it, the purpose behind it, and God’s motive for disciplinary measures for His children.
God’s Word also says, “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them” (Proverbs 13:24) (LASB).
Pain teaches lessons to be used in living life. Your doctor will tell you that pain is one of the greatest protections that your body and mind has. I was helping one of my church members recently build a bookshelf. He accidentally hit my finger with the hammer. Pain taught me to keep my finger out of the path of the hammer. Pain in punishment may be physical or it may be applied to the mind or emotions. Do you deprive your child of some type of pleasure that he enjoys? This can be mentally painful.
My mother usually used a peach tree switch. They called it “peach-tree-tea-medicine”. Dad used a razor strap on all of his kids--BUT ONE. Thank God! He talked things out with me! I became a “good listener!” Some kids respond well to verbal discipline.
I didn’t see any motto--”I Need Thee Every Hour”-- written on the wall, but apparently my parents had better vision than I did. Honestly, they never had to use a belt or paddle on any of their kids much, but when they did discipline, it was well understood and thorough. We never doubted their love for us. My wife was explaining to one of the elementary children who was to be paddled, “Son, do you know why you are being paddled?” He responded, “Yes, Mrs. Sowers, but I wish that you didn’t love me so.o.o much!” She gave him a BIG hug.
We must communicate love. Hug your children. Remind them that you love them with the love of Christ. God never stops loving the sinner because of his/her sins. God doesn’t punish us in retaliation or for selfish reasons.
I remind you that firmness and finality, given in gentleness and love--never anger, should be spoken to the disobedient child. You can do this, IF you take time for thought or reflection before you verbally or physically use discipline. It should NEVER be done with your hand. Our hands should demonstrate love--not hurt and pain.
Don’t belittle or use the blame-game with your child because that breaks down self-respect which is a priceless gift from God. Some parents blame their children for everything that goes wrong at home. Have you ever heard a parent or a school teacher scold a child in public which embarrasses him before his peers? If at all possible, correction should be kept private and confidential. Offer encouraging words of love and confidence to your child. What can a parent accomplish by trying to “ram things down the throat of a child”? Explain your expectations. Look for creative approaches to get your child’s interest and to get your required results.
Parents who have a fun-loving spirit can reach a troubled, disobedient child. That is even true when working with teenagers and adults. Use a laugh or a smile instead of a frown, and you will discover that it is easier for children to obey you. Sprinkle in an abundance of praise. Remember that “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1) (LASB). Be careful about the tone of your voice and your choice of words when correcting your child.
In conclusion, you and I owe our children, who are gifts from God, a debt of love. Look for ways to give your child your time, wisdom, foresight, strength, and love. You will always need a generous amount of wisdom from God (James 1:6). Most of all, build a protecting wall around your children through prayer and much exposure to the Word of God.
Join us in worship next Sunday at the Kaplan Baptist Church. You’ll be glad that you became a part of a church family that is growing spiritually and numerically. If you need our ministry, call 643-7971.