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Discipline Children

QUESTION: What are some techniques to effectively discipline children?


Techniques to discipline children are methods discovered, largely by trial and error, to "train" children to become orderly, well-behaved, respectful children. Michael Pearl, author of To Train Up A Child says, "Training is a technique that always works on every child. To neglect training is to create miserable circumstances for yourself and your child. Many of you have bypassed the training and expected the discipline alone to effect proper behavior." He also says that no amount of discipline [punishment] can make up for lack of training.1

There are almost as many methods offered to discipline children as there are so-called "experts" espousing them. Here are a few:
  • Authoritarian -strict, emphasis on perfection, lack of praise.
  • Result -children become rebellious, secretive, resent all authority.
  • Permissive - little to no discipline, no boundaries or set limits.
  • Result - children learn no concept of right/wrong, are insecure.
  • Democratic - explanation of expectations, proper punishments, rewards for appropriate behaviors. Result - children have more self-control, can make decisions, are more outgoing.
Parenting skills don't always come naturally. So to whom should you listen? What is most effective? I have found there is no better source than the Bible for good parenting techniques.

A man and his wife are "heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7). As a couple is to be unified in following Christ, as parents we are to be unified in raising our children. Children do "Learn What They Live," as the poem states. If we are patient, kind, and stable, our children will learn those ways. Children need parents who will nurture them, teach them, and discipline them.

People take time to train their pets to sit or stay but are not always willing to make the same investment in training their children. Good parenting begins with the right attitude. Happy, well-balanced, self-disciplined parents will grow children with the same characteristics. But parents who are selfish, live in chaos and neglect discipline and reproof will produce whiny, rebellious, unruly children. It is the duty of parents to teach and model behaviors, and to protect their children (that includes monitoring what TV shows or movies are watched).

Parents should know their children's individual personalities, deal with their attitudes, and guard their innocent hearts. Proverbs 4 (paraphrased) says:
  • Avoid the paths of the wicked
  • Attend to the words of God
  • Put away a smart mouth and vulgar language
  • Keep our eyes (and ears) on what is right
Perhaps the most compelling reason for employing good, godly parenting techniques is found in Proverbs 4:23 (KJV): "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

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