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Mommy and the Joyful Three

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Erin James is the author of a mom blog on whattoexpect.com. She is a mother of three whose passion is helping other moms and dads with positive parenting.

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Disciplining Our Children God’s Way


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?

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 5:27 PM

Comments on this post

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

This has been a big discussion in my home between me and my husband. My husband does not believe in spanking, but I do, when needed. He was never spanked so I can see why it wouldn't be necessary in his eyes. I spoke with fellow Christian friends who believe in spanking, they shared many scriptures with us that it was ordered by God to do. But on the defense of my husband, I understand that maybe spanking is not for all kids, and we may or may not need to with our kids. Despite all the encouragement from friend telling him to apply this form of discipline, he just do not feel moved to do so, but respects the word of God. I don't want to feel like my husband is disobeying God because he does not choose to spank. Is my husband being disobedient to God because he doesn't spank? Please share your opinion, thanks.
Left by HesAble on Jan 25, 2011 11:53 PM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

Hi HesAble,
There is plenty of scripture that does state that spanking is a good form of discipline. That being said I am with you on the fact that it is not for all children. My middle child Myley is a very sensitive child. I have to say it is harder for me to discipline her because spanking does nothing more than hurt her feelings so bad that she looses the concept of why we are punishing her and becomes distraught, instead we use other forms such as time out or we will take away a special toy. Spanking is more about fearing the parent, not getting hurt. If you can instill the fear of obedience into you child than I do not think that your husband is being disobedient, God knows we are all individuals, his words are meant to guide us but if your husband does not feel comfortable about something especially considering he was raised that way I do not think that he is doing something wrong. As long as your discipline style works and is effective than I would stick with it. If it is
Left by MOM E on Jan 26, 2011 7:25 AM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

I just noticed a comment on my What to Expect Blog about the last paragraph, yes it is a typo "...do allow your child to see your division." It should say "do not", thanks Linda for pointing this out!
Left by MOM E on Jan 26, 2011 11:21 AM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

I am a mother of four and a grandmother of ten children. In taking some parenting classes early on I used a tip for shopping with three preschoolers. Tell them what their reward is for good behavior in the store, being quiet, holding onto the cart, etc. The reward can be a box of animal crackers, an ice cream cone later, some time at the playground. Let the littlest one hold onto something small and undamageable from the cart. Praise them for good behavior. The child knows how good God is by how good you are. Always remember that you are the parent and in charge, our God given authority. It helps to pray for parenting mercies but I learned this later on. I hope this is helpful to someone.
Left by Hisglory on Jan 26, 2011 1:12 PM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

Sorry about that last paragraph typo. I apologize for any confusion my error may have caused. God bless. -- Family section producer, CBN.com
Left by Hannah on Jan 26, 2011 2:25 PM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

The bible is says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child and the rod of correction will drive it far from him - Proverbs 22.15 (NKJV) Now I dont want a foolish child, so I will use the rod as instructed by God as necessary (and it works wonders!) Another place in Proverbs tells us that our child will not die if we use the rod. That is why western society has gone "soft" because you have been taught its cruel to spank your child. No, it's not. I would rather spank my boy and save him from hell. Controversial subject?? ONly if you want it to be
Left by mandyb_10 on Feb 01, 2011 9:59 AM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

Reading this article gave me confirmation that discipling my child is good for her and me!

Although, she's not a problemtic child, I get frustrated with her under tone attitude, and laziness!! I and the hubby go grocery shopping and she's poking her lip out because I ask her to put the groceries up. I've realized why am I asking her to do anything. I'M THE PARENT! When asking her anything, a different message internalizes that she can choose to do or not. I'm learning to say what I mean and that's it...no COMPRISE! She's only fourteen so we have four years until 18. By then, she will appreciate my 'tough' love and one day say to me...'Mom thank you for everything and I'm sorry!'

Proverbs 19:18 (NLT) 'Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.' I don't want to blame for her unhappiness and selfish ways if I don't step in and do my job. Glory to God because He gives me strengh!
Left by ZEE503 on Feb 03, 2011 12:32 PM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

Just as God disciplines us as adults, we should do the same with our children, but all in Love as Christ showed us. Never in anger or frustrations should we discipline (spanking or words) our children for that will bring on harm and a rebellious child. Walk away, think and decide what is the appropriate action to take (spanking or lecture). Lord forgive me when I discipline out of anger and not in love, help me continue to see things through your eyes and not mines, Amen. Be bless
Left by HesAble on Feb 08, 2011 3:29 PM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

when I was young I was spanked by a shure shingle off a cow's back by my father i didn't want that for my children. I spanked with my hand out of love cause it hurt me more than them I felt the hits on bottoms and not made them red enough to make them cry and when they got older they lost privliages to things they had. I also read them bible stories and let them play a part of the story to make it real for them.Lots of times I spanked there pertend friends and they were wide eyed and appoligized for them doing wrong.Now they have taken the parent's right to punish their child away totally. It's not right our children will see that in the end ,like one says it's not teaching them about the Lord's way.
Left by suebee2345 on Feb 14, 2011 10:59 PM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

As a Christian who was rarely spanked growing up and thankfully "not" in an violent or creepy pull-your-pants-down way, I don't look back on those spankings as a good thing. It makes me sad that Christians spank their kids for small infractions.

The concept of spanking (hitting a child over and over on the buttocks) was "not" a Jewish concept--the bible talked of using a rod on the "back," and if you dig further, you will see that this was reserved only for "major" infractions, like the child endangering his life or the community's lives--not because he simply disobeyed. :-/

And another point is that we are now under the "new covenant." Jesus had "grace" for people, and I truly believe he would also have grace for children, as they are sinners "just like adults" are sinners. Do adults get spanked? Men used to spank their wives not too long ago and many Christians believed it was "biblical" to do so. Makes you think? We are "still" misinterpreting and "adding" to scripture.
Left by SeekingHim on Dec 10, 2013 1:56 AM

# RE: Disciplining Our Children God’s Way

I love reading your thoughts and comments, I am sorry for the delay in responding. I struggle daily with discipline. Reading the Bible and praying for wisdom I try to make the best choices. God's grace for us is beautiful and it does mean we are forgiven but God does instruct us to keep on a path for Him and our children look up to us for this.
Left by Erin James on Sep 25, 2014 9:23 PM