Daily Archives: November 24, 2008

1 post

Follow up on Adornment and Toddlers

Stacy, thank you for your comment. You are certainly not alone in asking this question. First, if you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read carefully chapter 15 of Shepherding a Child’s Heart. This chapter explains fundamental biblical truth regarding the use of the rod, including the issue you raise. While spanking is essential, it is only one component of a biblical methodology of parenting. Spanking must be practiced in the context of you and your husband daily praying for God’s blessing on your children, and praying for God’s help to be faithful in both preventative and remedial discipline. Also, Deuteronomy 6 makes it clear that God is to be a part of the conversation of everyday life in your family. Talk about the issues you expect to face each day. Pray with your children in advance about areas where their behavior indicates struggles of the heart.
In addition to reading chapter 15 of Shepherding a Child’s Heart, you might want to look also at Chapters 2 and 4 of Everyday Talk. Those two chapters form the background for the post on which you commented. Pleasant words and discipline are an essential combination.
More specifically, let me draw your attention to a comment in chapter 15. On page 144, after noting an up-and-down behavior cycle in his children, Tedd makes the observation: “One day it dawned on us! We produced the cycles.” Your child is not living in a vacuum. His responses are connected to your responses. While he is accountable before God for his sins, it is also true that his world is dominated by his parents. What makes this negative for children on occasion is that parents often live in survival mode—they survive one incident of difficult behavior and just wait and hope that they can survive the next one. Sound familiar??? This kind of relational climate in the home does not lend itself to productive biblical discipline. It is not the setting that Deuteronomy 6 envisions.
The glory and honor of God must be at the center of your home, and you must have a vital experience of relying on God’s help in both good time and difficult times. You recognized this when you were “crying out to the Lord for wisdom.” But it is just as important to take delight in God’s presence when a meal goes well, for example, as when there is disobedience. The Scriptures are designed to give you confidence and joy as you follow God’s ways of living (including discipline). If you are discouraged, down, overwhelmed, or uncertain when you begin the discipline process, particularly when spanking is required, don’t expect good results. The practice of biblical discipline is a blessing and privilege. It weeds out rebellion and discontent, and cultivates the peaceful fruit of righteousness. It is not something to dread. Proverbs 22:15 is a wonderful verse to memorize with your children in this light.
Toddlers have a great capacity to intimidate parents. Soon a parent hesitates to speak a word of correction because she fears it will lead to discipline that does not appear to accomplish anything. All too often, the result from this scenario is an angry, defiant, weepy child and a distraught, bewildered parent who is balancing on a thin line of discouragement and anger. Good times? Not for anyone! So when the precious toddler challenges your authority the next time, you think twice before going down the black hole of discipline again. Parents, this is not what God intends! You must be persuaded that what you are doing is what God wants. If it seems not to be working, don’t doubt God’s methods. Consider whether you are applying God’s principles effectively, and if you are, be patient and persevere. Your spirit must be one of loving confrontation born out of love for God and your child.
Stacey, let me know your response. Thanks for bringing this up. May God use this interchange to help many parents faced with this same situation.