Family series #3: Discipline
The second wall of protection is that of discipline. That word evokes negative feelings in our modern society, but discipline is necessary to building character. What would our military be without disciplined soldiers?
Are you out of control?
We will never be successful in this area unless we are surrendered, victorious Christians and self-disciplined ourselves. Discipline has gotten a bad rap because some fathers and mothers attempt to discipline their children in a fit of rage. An out-of-control, undisciplined parent is unfit to attempt to discipline his or her children.
Strong willed children
Before we get into the topic of discipline, be aware of the fact that every child is different. Some are strong willed and others are easy going and even tempered. My wife and I were certainly aware of this in our own lives as parents and we were aware of the difference in our three children whom we raised in the turbulent decades of the 50’s-70’s when many Dr. Spock taught parents were raising a generation of self-righteous, rebellious hippies, so colorfully described in Proverbs 30:11-13.
Our responsibility as parents is not to change our children’s personalities; but to lead them to Christ who will eventually control their wills and beautify their personalities as they become more Christ-like. We accomplish that primarily by our own example. There are no perfect parents. Certainly my wife and I were aware of our own failures and cast ourselves on Christ for His strength in our weakness as parents, as taught in II Corinthians 12:9-10.
But in addition to living a Christ-like example to our children, God’s Word commands us as parents to restrain our children when they do wrong. Fathers, to fail in that responsibility is to disqualify ourselves as pastors and elders in the church according to I Timothy 3. That happened to Eli in I Samuel 3:11-13. when by failing to restrain his wicked sons, he became disqualified to lead Israel.
It is our Biblical mandate to teach them right from wrong and teach them respectful obedience to authority, by exercising our authority over them as parents.
God was pleased with Abraham and chose to use him for His divine purpose. Do you know why God was pleased with him? You will find the answer in Genesis 18:17-19. God, in His sovereignty and foreknowledge, could count on him to command his children to follow his godly example, even before they were born. .
How to raise spoiled, selfish, rebellious, uncivilized, disrespectful children
Because some parents discipline incorrectly does not mean we should ignore discipline. Many parents today who were harshly disciplined by their parents go to the opposite extreme and allow their children to grow up without any discipline whatsoever. They have adopted the world’s philosophy and are raising children who know nothing about self-control. Their philosophy is, “Express yourself! Do your own thing! Live to satisfy yourself and do whatever makes you happy! Eat when and what you want. Do whatever you want. Watch whatever you want on television or on the internet. Stay out as late as you want. Don’t ever cross your child’s will.” In teaching this supposed freedom to their children many parents today are raising spoiled, selfish, uncivilized brats who live to do as they please, destroy property and disrespect all authority. Parent, if you do not teach respect for authority while your child is small, he or she will someday have to learn it the hard way from a policeman or worse yet, from a prison guard.
Why are you frustrated?
Perhaps you are a parent who wants to rear your children correctly, but you are frustrated by your seeming lack of success. I’ve heard mothers talk of their “terrible twos”. Their two year olds have become a little monsters who rule the house with temper tantrums. You are experiencing this frustration because you did not start Biblical discipline soon enough.
Discipline begins in infancy.
Mom, you need to be home at least until your child is in school. I know there are some exceptions such as single mothers who have no other choice but to work outside the home. But if you are a mother whose husband can supply your basic needs, then your presence in the home is far more valuable than anything extra your pay checks could buy. Whatever you do, don’t give up the blessed privilege you have to bond with and guide your children from infancy to the time they are in school. Why would any mother turn over that privilege and responsibility to a baby sitter or a child care service? It’s beyond me how any mother could trust the care of her children to another during those formative, wonderful years.
Having said that, I am thankful for godly child care providers whom God uses to carry out the responsibilities of parents; but God gives that responsibility and privilege primarily to parents.
Throw out all those secular child care books.
Though we used Dr. Spock’s book to help us through the medical problems of infancy, we would not for one moment have considered his godless child psychology. Folks, forget that secular philosophy that “it takes a village to raise a child.” It takes a God-fearing, stay-at-home Mom who loves her children and is willing to raise them by Biblical principles. It takes a mother who snuggles her little ones in her arms and sings to them and rocks them and feeds them and changes their diapers and bathes them and spanks them when they need it.
Horrors! Did I say the “S” word? Yes, I said spanks them when they need it. If I had raised my children by my feelings, they never would have been spanked. I am a gentle, easy-going person. I don’t want to hurt anyone, much less my own children. But the Bible taught me to spank, so I did, firmly, but lovingly and with many tears. Yes, I wept as I spanked my children, praying, ” Lord, I’m trusting you. I’m doing this because your Word teaches me to do it. Please, help me to do it right and please bless my children according to your Word.”
It takes a real mother.
My wife, Pat, was right with me. We had talked over these matters during our courtship. God blessed me with a wonderful wife who became a wonderful mother. No mother was ever more loving and caring. Our children were never allowed to lie in their cribs and cry for long periods of time. Pat always understood their cries, whether it was hunger or a stomach ache or a wet diaper. She took care of the problem and stopped the crying and comforted the child. At the same time, there never was a more consistent disciplinarian. Our children never got away with anything. She had “eyes in the back of her head”. Our children knew that they might get away with something with Dad, but never with Mom.
Listen to the instruction of God’s Word on the subject of discipline and spankings.
Proverbs 3:11-12 “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father the Son in whom he delights.”
Proverbs 13:24 “He that spares his rod HATES his son; but he that LOVES him chastens him repeatedly.” You say you love your child too much to spank him? No, you do not love him enough to make him do right. You prefer to read and follow the advice of godless, child-rearing books rather than the Bible.
Proverbs 19:18 “Chasten thy son WHILE THERE IS HOPE, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Parents, if you start when your child is old enough to understand the word NO; if you do it correctly; by the time your child is old enough to go to Kindergarten, spankings will be a thing of the past. Very seldom will you ever need to spank again. We proved that with our own two sons and daughter.
By spanking I am speaking of smacking their fat little bottoms just firmly enough to make it sting. They will scream in rage and anger when you start, but if you command them to stop screaming and keep the spanking up until they sob quietly, then the spanking will have accomplished it’s purpose.
Now you can take that little one and hug him and kiss him and tell him how much you love him. The punishment is all over. No harsh words, No screaming at the children. No frustration. It’s all over and your child will snuggle contentedly in your arms thankful that you love him. Will he forget and disobey again? Of course. He’s a little child. He forgets. When that happens you go through the whole procedure again and again. If you are consistent in your spankings and if you always do what you say you will do, in time your child will learn and the spanking will grow farther apart until one day you will find that your little five year old no long needs spankings.
I’ll tell you what’s cruel!
Some of you think spankings are cruel. I’ll tell you what is cruel. Cruelty is screaming at your child all day long, warning him over and over again that you are going to punish him if he does not obey; yet never punishing him. Cruelty is shaking your child. Cruelty is shouting at your child and telling him how bad and how stupid he is. Cruelty is sending your child to his room for several hours and allowing him to fume and grow more angry with you.
“Times outs” are silly games you play with your children because you don’t want to obey God in the matter of discipline. Why drag punishment out for hours when it can be taken care of in a few minutes and the happy relationship between parent and child can be restored. The only time outs should be for you to cool down from your own anger, so that you can handle the discipline situation in a mature, Christian manner.
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER spank your child when you are angry and out of control!!!
Proverbs 22:15 “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” Why try other unworkable solutions to solve disobedience when God’s way works? By the way, get this please. Don’t spank your child for being a child. Don’t spank him for accidentally knocking over and breaking a beautiful expensive glass vase. Rather, spank him for disobeying you by running in the living room when told not to. Don’t spank him for accidentally wetting his pants.
The only time a child should ever be spanked is when he deliberately disobeys you or lies to you or shows disrespect toward you. You can teach instant, unquestioning obedience through consistent punishment. Never let any disobedience or disrespect go unpunished. Unless you sting the bottom and spank until the child is quietly sobbing, you have not done the job right. Don’t spank in public and create a scene and embarrass your child. Take care of it in the privacy of your home.
In Ephesians 6:4 Paul warns fathers to provoke not their children to anger, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Fathers provoke their children to anger by their lack of discipline in their own lives, by being hypocritical, by being inconsistent and by not listening to their children and treating them with disrespect.
Teens don’t have to be rebellious!
Does this kind of discipline work? Absolutely. We raised two sons and a daughter using Biblical discipline and we never experienced “the terrible twos”. Even when our children were teens they were never rebellious. Now they have raised their children, our eleven grandchildren, with the same Biblical discipline and they have gotten the same results. And now the great-grand children are coming! We rejoice in the way God has kept His Word to us.
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