Earlier this week, I was shopping in a store when I heard commotion coming from the next aisle. A child was having a tantrum about not getting a toy he wanted and his mother was trying her hardest to quiet him. Then, I heard the child's father tell his wife to be quiet and to let their son have the toy. This saddened me because the only lesson their boy learned from the ordeal was to disrespect his mother until he gets what he wants.
The Bible has a lot to say about disciplining our children and how God disciplines us. I especially love what Hebrews 12:11 says about obedience and authority, and why it is so important to our lives.
No 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.
It can be heartbreaking to deny your child. As parents, we want nothing more than for our children to be happy. Many times we feel we are taking away from their happiness if we take away something or show our disapproval about what they have done wrong.
However, if we do not show our children boundaries and we do not voice our concern over their choices, we are not teaching them what they need to grow. Nothing they want is more important than a good upbringing. No toy, night out, or material possession is worth their safety or the stability that sensible restrictions bring to their lives.
Discipline itself has definitely changed over the years. What used to be acceptable to most now has become taboo (i.e., spanking).
Interestingly enough with old-school parenting making its way out, we are seeing each new generation become filled with more teenage pregnancies, crimes, and insolence. Is this because we, as a society, have become too approving in our parenting?
Of course, we should let our kids express themselves, but there has to be balance between self expression and disrespect. A good way to find this balance is to evaluate their attitude, whether or not what they are doing could hurt them or others and to see if their actions are lining up with the Bible. Use what God has taught you to make conclusions about your child's behavior.
We must show our children limits. And all punishment should be done with love; punishment stemming from anger is ineffective and is a prime example of when discipline goes too far.
The Bible teaches us to fear God. This healthy fear is a matter of reverence. When we fear Him, we are less likely to want to anger Him or go against His teachings. It does not mean He doesn’t love us; it just means we acknowledge his authority in our lives. This is exactly how our children should perceive us as parents.
God created boundaries for us because He does not want to see us fail or turn away from His grace. With this knowledge, we are able to learn lessons that stay true to our lives on a daily basis. Our children should see that from wisdom comes great love.
The other important aspect of effective authority over your children is to have unity in your marriage. If your children see a crack in the foundation, they will find a way to slip through.
You should stand side by side armed with God’s wisdom and your parental instincts ready for anything. Even if you disagree with your spouse about a parenting choice, don't allow your child to see your division. Talking in private is the best way to solve a disparity when it comes to parenting.
Do you feel that we have fallen so far away from God’s teachings as a society that it has become difficult as parents to reprimand our children?