Discipline

52 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 say: 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 […]

The Gift of Adornment

The Holy Spirit makes a vital connection between adornment and protection!  You care about your children. You want to protect them from harm. So you take the obvious precautions: you use car seats, you dress them in warm clothing, you install a security system, you take them to the doctor and you do everything possible to keep them physically safe. But what about spiritual protection? Children who are spiritually adorned are also spiritually protected. It is the fear of the Lord that will keep your children from being deceived by the traps and enticing snares of this world. Proverbs 1:8-9 helps us see that instruction regarding the fear of the Lord is to be given as a precious gift to […]

Are you helping your children to despise themselves?

Are you helping your children to despise themselves? It is simple thing—you asked your 8-year-old boy to take out the garbage. He doesn’t respond. You reason that maybe he didn’t hear you. So rather than cause a scene, you just ask him later. Then, later comes. So you ask him again, a little more loudly this time. This time he responds and says he will, right after he finishes his game. You tell him you’re good with that and move on. A half-hour later, you see he is still at the game and the garbage is still in place. You walk over to him and demand that he take the garbage out NOW.  He says okay and does it but he is […]

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 […]