Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Like a Shepherd Seven: Preventive and Corrective Discipline

Sources used in today's MOMs meeting were Parenting by God's Promises by Joel Beeke, Ginger Plowman's Don't Make Me Count to Three, and Everyday Talk by John Younts, all of which can be found in the FPC Learning Resource Center or at the normal locations. I recommend Ginger Plowman's book for elementary age children and older. All are very practical and biblically foundational, a combination often difficult to find in books on parenting. I also like Teach Them Diligently by Louis Priolo. Each of these authors goes to Eph.6:4 as their home base for preventive and corrective discipline. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Biblical discipline is directed at a teachable mind and spirit in order to make a follower or disciple of both Jesus and parent, involving Christ-like parental love, the mind and heart of parent and child, based on the Word of God.
We read in Hebrews For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, then you are illegitimate children, not sons 12:8. Discipline is a mark of godly love of a parent for a child. By nature we prefer convenience and comfort, and loathe the conflict and diligent effort that consistent godly discipline requires. In the weary days of  parenting young children it's easy to think, "I'll deal with that next time." Trouble is, Junior's discipline problems left untended grow in direct proportion to the size of his clothing. As one of my favorite counselors says, "Deal with it now, or deal with it later, but you WILL deal with it." Knowing how to discipline our children doesn't necessarily come easily, quickly, or naturally, and what we find works for Junior makes for a major mom-fail with Sister. In either case, we are wise to remember that all of our actions, parent and child alike, result from what lies in the heart. Proverbs 4:23; 22:15. The state of Junior's heart is serious business for the Christian parent. Jesus lived and died to pay for and to cleanse Junior from sin. God takes sin seriously, and so should we. Our hearts as parents must be steadfastly set on loving Jesus and following Him as an example to our children.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:7). Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). The heart and mind are connected and the God-inspired scriptures are profitable for teaching and reproof...preventive and corrective discipline! Sister grabs Junior's Legos and he takes her down. 1 Cor.13:4,5 tells us that love is patient and kind; it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. Because Junior is enjoying his Legos, taking them would make him sad and would be rude as well. Love is not rude. It is also patient and kind. Sister, you may play with the Legos when Junior is finished with them. And Junior doesn't get off the hook here. (For the more complete discussion of this scenario you'll have to get the recording of today's message.)
If you ask Junior why he hit his sister, you're likely to get an, "I don't know." Most tiny-tots are unable to discern matters of their heart and to explain in reality why they do what they do. But hitting is neither patient nor kind. The great news is that God's word provides instruction on the "next time" event in 1 Cor.10:13. ..when you are tempted He will provide for you a way out. God provides a better way for us. Help Junior see that.
As parents we want to draw from our young'uns an assessment of what they are thinking, how they express themselves (that's not too hard to see), how their thoughts, words, and actions compare to God's word, and how they can think, speak and act in a way that shows God's point of view.
Just remember:
*Husbands and wives need to present a united front to their children. This necessitates discussion, praying and planning how you as a couple will discipline your children.
*Children need to learn early on that Momma and Daddy are the ones who "get to say."
*Children need to be instructed and told what is expected of them, even when they don't understand exactly why. Have the expectation conversation with them. "When we get to the Smiths' house there will be no running inside, no throwing yourself on the furniture, say yes ma'am and no sir, and do not ask for food. Got it?" No lecturing or brow beating. They'll just turn off their ears and minds.
*Parents need to take into account (with great wisdom) the personalities, maturity, and mental capacity of their children as well as their own strengths and weaknesses as they discipline their children. One child can be turned with a frown while the next may have ears, a mind, and heart of concrete.
What about corrective discipline? My favorite definition is "applying the rod of correction to the seat of understanding." :) Corrective discipline is a consequential action in response to willful disobedience, moral failure, or disregard for danger. It can range from time out, loss of privileges, manual labor, to spanking. Here is a recommended process:
1. Punishment is administered from love for the child, not anger. Take time to cool off when Junior makes you mad as a hornet. Pray Lord, quench my anger, fill me with love for my child, and let me punish him with compassion and a desire to do him good all the says of his life. Keep me from being like Eli who failed to discipline, but also keep me from being a Saul. 1Sam.3:13;14:43,44.
2. Punishment is administered in plan with prayer. Mom and Dad need to be a united team who has prayed for the wisdom God promises to give liberally (James 1:5). Pray with your children that God would work in their hearts to make them more and more like His own Son Jesus, whose joy it was to do the will of His Father.
3. Administer punishment with faith that God will use His appointed means to bring all of His children to repentance, a saving knowledge of Him, and a desire to live for Him. Do you presume  on the riches of God's kindness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Rom.2:4.
4. Punishment is administered appropriately
*Not in anger
*With confession (which will serve them well throughout life)
*With a preordained number of swats that will sting, but NEVER injure
*Hold him (even if he's angry) There is safety, security and restoration.
*Pray with him Father, I pray that you would show us how we may live to honor you and your word, Guide us in the paths of righteousness, show us when we wander from the path. Forgive us when we sin against you and each other and restore us to you and our family.
*Guide your child to restoration and restitution where needed.
Once again, this is a summary and listening to the recording will fill in gaps and provide a more detailed explanation on this difficult subject. Thanks again for the effort you all make to be there and to participate with your discussion and questions. Two more weeks left!


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