Have you ever said, “Because I said so, that’s why!”?
If you have, stop saying it.
Who do you think you are?
Pat Williams tells the story of the Alpha male in the airport who simply loses it when his flight is delayed. He throws an “adult” tantrum, berates the airline, raises his voice, and finally screams at the attendant behind the boarding counter, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” The attendant calmly reaches for the microphone and makes this announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a man here who does not know who he is. Would someone please come and identify him?”
My point is this: Too often we punish because we have been inconvenienced or our wishes have been infringed upon. We are upset because we have made ourselves “god” and our little universe is not obeying our commands.
Let’s identify who we are. We are made in God’s image; we represent the Father to our children (who are also made in his image).
Our goal as his imperfect representatives is to lead our children to the One who is perfect, who is always faithful, who always keeps his word, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. “Because I said so” is just not good enough. Our “say so’s” are too small.
Let’s try saying: “It’s not right.” “That doesn’t reflect who we really are.” “Our family doesn’t do those things.” “That doesn’t please the Father.” You don’t have to be preachy about it, but we do have to keep in mind that the buck stops with Jesus, not us. This is the big picture: My kids belong to God, not to me.
How will this look in real life?
Correct quickly. Punishment is mid-course correction for God’s purposes, not mine. We all need it. Children especially need it and they need it sooner rather than later. (Ecclesiastes 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.) Correct quickly.
Don’t separate your child from yourself; he needs your interpretation of what he did wrong. If you use “Time out,” do it nearby, not in his room. Proverbs 29:15 says, “A child left to himself is a shame to his mother.” Punish, then explain. Your action gets his attention so that he will hear your words. Your goal (Heb. 12:11) is the peaceful fruit of righteousness. When you explain, you train.
Time out rule of thumb: One minute per year of age. Four years old=four minutes of time out.
We’ll continue next week with more on tip #8.