I remember the first time my oldest child, who was probably just under 2 at the time, looked at me and did the exact opposite of what I asked him.
He had just thrown his cereal on the ground so we were about to pick it up together when he looked at me and started stomping on the cereal with his feet. Not in a fun, playful way, but it was a defining moment for me as a mom who saw that her sweet little baby had deep heart issues.
I was faced with my little sinner.
Of course, that is a minuscule example, however, it began a journey of me on my knees and hasn’t always been as easy as a kiddo throwing cereal on the ground to make a point. Children need to be taught what is right just as much as they need to be corrected. It is constant though and we are here in the trenches with you moms (and dads!).
Biblical discipline is going to be painful for a moment, but ultimately, it’s for the child’s good.
We read in Hebrews 12:3-11 that God disciplines His children and that it’s “for our good that we may share in his holiness”. I love seeing my children happy so this part is hard for me since I am causing their unhappiness. Yet as we are promised in the word, there is a harvest of righteousness and peace for those trained up by discipline.
We train our children in holiness and point them to the gospel. We are all born sinners. We cannot be good on our own and need a savior.
I once heard from someone wiser than myself that she wanted her kids to experience the feeling and depth of their sin. She wanted them to have the feeling of “Wow, I really can’t do this. I cannot obey mom and dad every time they ask.”
We point out their selfishness and other sins because we get to show them they desperately need a savior! No amount of willpower is going to get them through it. This is where we as Christians are different from the world.
We must accept that disciplining our children is rarely convenient. My kids spill things all the time and it might be a lot easier for me to clean it myself, but it’s a consequence in our home to clean up their mess even though it’s going to take forever and I’ll probably have to go back over it!
In this, we bless our children by loving them enough to discipline them. Another important thing to note is that praise is a powerful tool and another way to bless them. Our children need us to be watching them for right behavior as much as we correct wrong behavior. Catch them doing something – anything – right as often as you can.
No parent has all the answers and no parent has figured it out as if there is an equation to plug our children into. The way you discipline will vary from family to family, but general gospel truths can guide us all through the journey of discipline. Only God can change our children’s hearts.
All the parenting wisdom in the world can’t save or transform our children. Only Jesus can. The most important thing we can do as parents is to see wise parenting techniques by spending time in the Word and prayer, asking God for guidance. He is there, he listens and he promises to provide all the wisdom we need.
Looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!
Tyler OJ Campus
Teresa Ator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bethanie Tayler: email@example.com
Tyler UB Campus
Max Heller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chrisleigh Heller: email@example.com
Molly Pontius: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Kirby: email@example.com