Wednesday, January 19, 2011
“She’s too cute.” Reason number one that we often do not discipline a little guy or girl is just cuteness. Apparently we must think that discipline will “uncute” them. I have scoured the Bible to find answers to the cute syndrome and I have stumbled on this thought. In Genesis 4, God states this to Cain: “If you do what is right, will not your countenance be lifted up?” Now I am not sure whether or not Cain was cute, but God does indicate that doing right improves the countenance and doing wrong hurts it. Doing well beautifies and doing wrong uglifies. If we want them to stay cute, we need to train them to do the right thing.
“He has such a strong will.” Some kids do have stronger wills than others. Their strength of resolve is resilient and seemingly constant. However, the answer is not to be a weak-willed parent! Definitely not. These four things are necessary with a strong-willed child: Look ahead, plan ahead, communicate ahead and keep your head.
The child is living by impulse and desire; parents must direct them with clear purpose and unity. Get together as parents and discuss what steps to take. Get counsel from someone who fought this battle and won. Work together. Be on the same team. If either parents sides with the child, the battle is lost.
I have seen men despise their wives when they were struggling with a strong-willed child. The child grew up to despise first the mom, and when he got big enough, he despised the dad too. Dads, back up your wives.
“I am afraid he will feel rejected.” This is a dangerous lie. The scripture teaches just the opposite by encouraging us that “the Lord disciplines those he loves.” (Heb. 12) Discipline communicates love. Boundaries, guidelines, and follow-through communicate belonging, true sonship.
As our arms surround our children when we hug them, so clear discipline and boundaries are like enfolding them in love. It’s practical love, not mushy, or cushy. Children need both kinds of love from us—the hug and the boundaries.
They learn that correction is part of life and part of belonging. Correction prepares them to face pain or difficulty and bounce back. It instills character. We don’t correct the kids that are not ours. Our own kids understand that. When we correct our children, they know they belong.
Or, you could take the easy way:
Instead of having cute kids, have ugly kids. That would solve the cute problem. Marry somebody ugly, then you can have ugly kids and be a good disciplinarian. Make sense?
Instead of having a strong-willed child, have weak-willed children. Easy to raise, but not much future.
Instead of correcting your children, let them grow up untamed. Pretend that God does not hold you responsible. Maybe they won’t feel rejected. Maybe they’ll expect everyone to treat them as softly as you do. Maybe they’ll grow up and life will be easy for them. Maybe they won’t face difficulty. Maybe.
Posted by Keith at 4:35 AM