Often when Keith and I are teaching parenting seminars, we have a Q and A time in between sessions or at the end. Very frequently, a question like this comes up:
“Our daughter needed correction, so I sent her to her room. My husband brought her back out of her room saying that ‘sending her to her room was not a good punishment.’ What do you think? Is that a good way to discipline?”
This question is like the quilting on a down comforter; it’s right on top, so it’s what we see. But there are many layers underneath it. Fabric, batting, and the down itself give substance to the comforter; even so, instruction, limits, procedures, and restoration are some of the layers in our relationship with our children.
This week, we will answer the question. Over the next couple of weeks we will try to clarify the layers that lie hidden underneath.
Primarily, one of the main jobs of parents is that we interpret life for our children. We help them figure out what life means, how to respond to it, what the next step is. Sending one’s child away means that he has to figure things out for himself; but he is too immature to do that. He needs input. The child is hurting. He has done wrong. He has damaged his relationship with his parents. He feels guilt. He feels your displeasure. He is vulnerable. This is the wrong time for a child to be alone. He needs you.
In isolation, the battleground of his mind becomes a playground for our enemy Satan. A child in his immaturity has no defense against Satan’s lies. Instead of this being a productive time, it becomes a destructive time.
In the book of Proverbs, the Lord says, “A child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Understanding what goes on in the isolation, we see what the outcome is: it does not produce good fruit. He’s not repentant, sweet.
If you are there with him, to work through the issues, to interpret, it can be a productive time. Forgiveness can be asked for and given. Punishment can be explained.
Our experience has been to keep the child with us, walk him through the process (even if it is painful), and let there be clear restoration in the relationship. This provides a measure of security for the child. There is a clear beginning and ending, and the child has the opportunity to demonstrate a right attitude by walking it out correctly; and with that comes your pleasure.
Hebrews says that discipline yields the “peaceable fruit of righteousness.” That is our measuring stick for our discipline; and our children can’t get there by themselves.
Next week we will look at another layer. Email us if you have a question; we would love to hear from you. Know that ”the Father Himself loves you.” You are doing the most important work!