And here’s the kicker: THAT STATISTIC DOESN’T SEEM TO BE IMPROVING. When it comes to discipline, we as parents face a lot of uncertainty. We want to know what works. We want results. We want our kids to love us and to know that we love them. And we want it by this weekend.
Added to our uncertainty is an ever-growing list of disciplinary techniques, child psychologies, societal warnings, new magazines, Oprah, and the “Daddy Daycare” movie.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND LET IT OUT S-L-O-W-L-Y!
There is the Bible. There are the words and thoughts of God. The Bible makes numerous recommendations: instruct, direct, lead, show, rebuke, admonish, spank, encourage, correct. When appropriate. Obviously, spanking is not the only means mentioned in the Bible, so spanking is not always appropriate—but it is sometimes.
And it is not all that simple. Having the words of the Bible does not mean that we can easily see how to apply its truth. We all need help. We can learn from those who have gone ahead of us. Patricia and I learned a lot from older couples whose children were like what we wanted ours to be like. We encourage you to ask for help, advice, and prayer.
Following are a few Biblical principles that are clear:
Build the context for discipline. That context is a loving relationship. LOVING YOUR KIDS WILL COVER A LOT OF MISTAKES. If you have little or no relationship, if your kids don’t know that you love them, your discipline will be ineffective. By the way, you spell love T-I-M-E.
IT IS RIGHT THAT PARENTS DISCIPLINE THEIR KIDS. IT IS WRONG IF WE DON'T. We are not their buddies; we are their parents. God expects us to discipline them out of our love for them. To fail to discipline them is to fail to love them. The worst kind of discipline is none at all.
DAD AND MOM MUST AGREE. Your kids cannot serve two masters. Go to your bedroom and discuss your disagreements until you can come out on the same page, for the sake of your children. Your family will work out the specifics differently than Patricia and I did. That's okay. Your methods will not be exactly like ours. That's okay. We don't have to agree with you, but you will have to agree with each other. This is a powerful key: Dad and Mom must agree.
ONE MORE VERY IMPORTANT THING. YOU WILL HAVE TO PRAY. Accept that fact. Ask God for help, on your knees, together. More than anyone else, He knows how to do this thing we call family. That’s the real secret. For God’s glory and purpose are best passed on at home, in the family. In your family.