“Chasten thy son while there is still hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 10:8)
I walked into a restaurant late one night and sat down near a young couple with three small children. They got my attention when the little four-year-old girl got up on the table. When her father told her to get down, she then crawled under the table. The father then demanded that she get up on her seat, but nothing happened.
Her father then said, “Sarah, you get up here! I said get up here! I mean it!”
“I am counting, Five—Four—Three—Two—One and a half.”
[Still nothing happened].
Then dad then ignored the situation and went on talking as if he did not even have a daughter. Five minutes later, the little girl peeked over the top of the table with a big grin.
This was not discipline. Discipline is not what we say, but what happens after our instructions are ignored. Discipline does not have to be harsh. Discipline is not doing something to the child, but rather, doing something for the child’s good. Discipline provides a structure of restraints for the child. Discipline says, “I love you too much to allow you to go down this self-destructive path” (Assertive Discipline).
Parents are not disciplining their children today for many reasons:
- The nuclear family is eroding with the site of responsibility now uncertain. As the number of parents multiply, resulting in blended families, the responsibility is divided.
- Parents are not taking the time to enforce instructions due to the fast pace they live today. It takes time to discipline. With both parents working children are increasingly left unsupervised for part of the day or placed in the hands of substitute caregivers, with substitute values.
- Moral values have eroded since society recognizes no absolutes. The Bible is ignored or devalued. Parents are not living disciplined lives themselves.
- Parents are confused as to their rights, responsibilities and to the methods to use when disciplining their child. If adults are confused—think of the children.
- Children, due to all of the above, have learned the art of getting their own way by manipulation, whining, begging or working one parent against the other.
- Parents are afraid to use physical discipline –yet God’s Word tells us we must use it “betimes.” [Proverbs 13:24] This should never bring physical harm or injuries –and it should be applied to the ‘seat of understanding’. The child must feel it and not like it. Parents – never threaten – only promise, and always keep your promises.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasure and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV).
Parents, we must break out of this world’s mold. Provide your children with the control and discipline they so desperately need!
Helping a child become a disciplined person is one of the important tasks of parenthood. An undisciplined child is an unhappy child – seldom getting along with other children. Upon reaching adulthood, they continue to live lonely, unhappy lives since both marriage and the workplace demand self-discipline and conformity.
We must teach our children discipline and obedience – because God demands obedience. If our children do not obey us, their earthly parents, how will they obey their heavenly Father?