Discipline

47 posts

Angry Children and Fearful Fathers

It is a challenge to patiently, lovingly, firmly confront a child who chooses to go his own way. For some fathers, it is easier to just ignore their children’s need for care and discipline. Other fathers also take an easy path by becoming angry and threaten severe consequences or engage in physical intimidation. These approaches do not honor God. They do not bless the child. These two damaging responses, indifference and anger, stem front the same root cause – fear. Fathers, are you listening? God created men to be confident, compassionate, caring leaders. But then, there was the fall. While Eve chose to verbally engage the serpent, Adam, who was with her, chose not to protect his wife. Instead, in fearful […]

Discipline: Investing in Your Children’s Future

The full value of your instruction to your children will not be seen immediately. If you invest in changing your children’s behavior your investment is only for the moment. Results will often be quick and impressive, but they will also be temporary. When behavior is the goal, how well your children perform is the main indicator of success. Investing in behavior brings immediate dividends such as anger, frustration, and manipulation. In contrast, investing in heart change is investing in your children’s future. Heart change is for life. Pleasant words, consistent loving discipline, taking the time necessary to really know your children, loving God’s word for yourself, humility—these are indications of investment in heart change. Investing in heart change may not […]

When Your Child Is Hurting

“Mommy, Heather was so mean to me today at school. She laughed at me and told me I look dumb. I thought she was my best friend! I am really, really sad. I just want to stay home and not go back, ever.” Your daughter has just experienced how cruel and sad life can be. Your first thought is to protect and defend her from the cruel words. But, then you want to see how God can use this to prepare your daughter for the difficult challenges that life will bring to her. You want her to know that through the hurt she can know and experience joy and the comfort of God. What brings joy to you profoundly impacts […]

The Gentle Initiative

It is late in the day and you’re exhausted. Your head is pounding. It’s time to prepare dinner. At this precise moment, a dispute breaks out about who has the gaming screen next. So you do the only thing that seems logical, you shout: That’s enough! I’ve had it. You want dinner? Then sit down, give me the iPad and don’t say another word until I call you for dinner. Do you understand? As if on cue, one child starts whimpering, and the other one defiantly looks at you and says, “that’s not fair!” You find yourself somewhere between despair and overload. With iPad in hand, you turn back to the kitchen. Somewhere in your deep consciousness, you find yourself […]

The Process: From Complaining to Slavery

Fourteen-year-old Louis is moody. He constantly complains any time he is not absorbed in his screens. His parents fear for the things he might be viewing when no one is watching. It seems like it has been weeks since anyone has seen him smile. How did this happen? What needs to happen? The immediate, expected response is to demand his screens from him and require him to stop being so grumpy and moody. This plan may attain some temporary relief. But it will not address the real reason for his sin and unhappiness. If the  focus is only on his wrong and unhelpful actions, it will miss reaching his heart and actually encourage him towards  even deeper struggles and sins […]

Note to Parents: Sin Is a Process

“How many times have I told you not to do that?!?” “Stop doing that, right now!” “Why can’t you obey and do just this one thing?” “You know that you are not supposed to do that!” “If I hear you say that one more time!!” “One thing, why can’t you do just this one thing?!?” Do these statements sound familiar?  They are uttered, muttered, shouted and pouted when your child just doesn’t seem to get the point: why can’t she just obey! They are statements of frustration and vexation. The focus is on stopping or changing a particular action. But is the particular act of disobedience the real core of the problem? Actually, this focus on stopping a particular act […]

Discipline is About Compassion, Not Retribution

This is part two of a series of posts contrasting discipline with retribution. In the first post of the series, I highlighted this consideration: Biblical discipline must not be seen as payment for the sins for which the discipline was administered. Retribution is not the goal of biblical discipline! In response, the question many of you raised was, “How does this work itself out in everyday family life?” This post will begin to address that question. In the first post, we saw how Psalm 103 provides direction on how to address the sins of your children. David calls us to compassion with these words: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love. As a father […]

Discipline Is Not About Retribution

Instilling discipline is huge for your children. Discipline and structure are vital for any child to function well in life. Up to this point, I believe we can all agree that this is precisely what the Bible teaches about the importance of discipline.  However, here is one significant biblical insight that is just as important to grasp: Biblical discipline must not be seen as payment for the sins for which the discipline was administered. Retribution is not the goal of biblical discipline! Correct understanding of this truth is equally important for both parents and children. Only the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ can pay the penalty for sin. Therefore, to suggest that parental discipline is, in some way, payment for the […]

Three Heart Attitudes Of a Faithful Parent

Parents, if your desire is to see your children’s hearts become responsive to the gospel, the place to start is with your own heart. There are 3 core heart-attitudes to cultivate that will help mold your heart to be God’s  instrument for presenting Christ to your children.  The first attitude is humility.  Humility is the source of the power that you need to represent Christ well to your children.  Humility means that you trust God and follow him. Pride means that you trust yourself and refuse to rely on God’s truth. When you don’t rely on God’s direction for parenting you become from friends with the world. In Chapter 4, James warns that this friendship makes you an enemy of […]

Be Quick To Listen

Jesus tells the story of a father and his two sons. The father asks his first son to go work in the vineyard. The first son responds with a defiant no. So, the father makes the same request of his other son. This son, in sharp contrast, respectfully says yes, he will go. On the surface of things, it appears one son is rebellious and one is obedient. This much is true, but not in the way it appears. In the story Jesus quickly adds that the first son changed his mind and actually did as he was asked. The other son never went to the vineyard. After telling this story, Jesus asked his listeners which son did what his […]