Here at Fellowship, we’ve often taught that love is being committed to the well being of another person. Of course the term, “well being,” can mean many different things. It can mean extending grace to another for whom favor is not deserved. It can mean honoring a promise even when it hurts. It can mean practicing patience for people in a world where time and money are fleeting. It can mean staying in a relationship even when every fiber of your being wants to leave. But for parents, that commitment is colored greatly by the word discipline.
Normally, we think of “discipline” as a punishment that we mete out as a means of making someone behave. That is the wrong way to think of it! By definition, discipline is simply training people to obey rules or a code of behavior. It is a practice, and usually a daily one. Instead of being something that we do to another, it is something we do for another. It is also something that we do out of love — which means, in regards to our children, it is something we do out of a commitment to their well being. This just happens also to be the example set by God. He disciplines us because he loves us — because he is committed to our well being — knowing that the end result of it will be holiness (Hebrews 12:5-11). If we do not discipline our children, they will become a trouble for us, as well as a trouble for those around us. But even more importantly, they could miss out in some way on the blessings promised by God.
Here are some quick pointers to help you as parents discipline your child.
Be Consistent: Stick to your guns. Do not discipline one way on one day, and another way on another day. Keep your expectations clear and uniform. Inconsistency is confusing, and will make your children unsure of the rules. It might also encourage them to take chances with your expectations.
Be Unified: If you are in two parent home, have a plan for how you will handle infractions. Never undercut your spouse. It is best for a child to see the two of you as a unified front. Children are little people, and like many people, they will vie for any advantage. Plus, disunity naturally creates inconsistency. If you are a single parent, stress unity with those who help you. Be unified with biblical ideals.
Do Not Discipline in Anger: Your judgement will likely be poor, and you will end up doing something to your child rather than for your child.