How Should Christian Parents Discipline Their Children?
For many cultures, you have two extremes in raising children. One side says just let them run wild and they will eventually come around. The other dark extreme is excessively hitting or beating children, which is outright child abuse. What does the Bible teach about how parents should discipline their children?
In Proverbs 13:24, the words of wisdom in Proverbs tell us if we withhold discipline from our children, we are actually messing them up. Notice that it mentions not using the rod. There are a couple things being taught. We must discipline our children. Discipline is not hitting them. Discipline is correcting them when they talk bad, take other people’s things, throw tantrums (if they’re younger). Discipline is talking with them, taking away privileges, making them apologize, and (especially) when they are younger, it can be spanking them. If you want your children to be contributors to a positive, bright, society, you must teach them. The parents job is the most important job you have.
Secondly notice about the rod. It doesn’t say hand. The rod is a neutral item, not the loving hand of a mother or father. If a child needs to be spanked it is never to hurt them. A child should never be hit anywhere but the buttocks. Why? Parents never want to injure or hurt their children. God has entrusted your children to you and you are to nurture them. Children should never be hit, punched, or slapped in their vital areas. The most disheartening thing is to see children hit in the head by angry parents. Children should NEVER be hit in the head, and parents should never discipline when they are angry.
The world is filled with a lot of lazy, vulgar, and arrogant people. Why? Most likely because parents didn’t love their children enough to teach them to respect others, to work hard to be successful, and to deal in relationships like they want to be treated.
Loving your children is not letting them do whatever they want. If they do it when they are young, they will continue to do the same thing when they are old. In fact, Proverbs 22:6 tells us that when children are young is when they are formed. If you discipline them and mold them into champions when they are younger, when they are old they will have victory and success built in to them.
Physical discipline is effective when children are young. Again, it is only meant to remind them NOT hurt them. However, when a child grows up and hits the age of accountability (more on that here), the relationship will change to more of a talking things out and rewarding kids for when they do right. The age of accountability is the age when everyone comes to question, “Why am I here?”. At this point, they put it off, completely reject their built in desire to know God, or they say “God, if you’re out there, I want to know You!”
If you have loved your children and disciplined them, the older the person gets the less discipline they will need. When they become adults they will thank you for the time and effort you put into them. A bit of discipline will help them attain a good education, take good care of themselves and those they love, and give them the tools to be a success in life.
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