Last Wednesday’s MDB focused on corrective discipline, specifically what the Proverbs and other Scriptures advised on spanking. Today we will look at practical ideas of other corrective measures you can use to train your children to follow God’s rules.
But before, we do that, here is a note from a subscriber. Thanks, Allen, for your feedback.
I agree with everything in your article about spanking. However, I believe spanking should be applied sparingly and I wish you had made that point at the outset. It almost sounded like you advocated spanking as a first consideration.
Tim Santi, one of our vendor reps., once told be he spanked his 2-year-old more than his 5-year-old. He felt that if you start a ship out in the right direction, it is far easier than trying to change course in mid-trip. If done correctly, by the time your child is 7 or 8, you may never have to spank them again.
Thanks again for the feedback. Spanking is only part of the discipline and instruction as we train our children to walk with God, which leads me to my first point in today’s article.
Spanking is not the only corrective measure we should use. If you spank your child for everything they do wrong, you are going overboard. Save spanking for things that you really believe are critical. Things like stealing, putting themselves or others in danger, blatant defiance, and lying are some examples for your consideration.
Here are a few examples of corrective measures other than spanking to help train a child to obey your rules and God’s rules.
Sit and be quiet. Some call it “time out.” There are times when making your child sit down and refrain from talking will be very helpful. It is good training for the child to learn to sit still and not talk for a period of time. Personally, I hated when mom made me sit in a chair and not talk…it was like the end of the world. I haven’t changed. Consider your child’s age and ability to understand. Making a one year old sit in a chair and not talk for an hour won’t work :).
Extra chores or acts of service. It is my experience that sometimes a rake or shovel in their hands is very effective to teach them life principles. There are some kids that have an excess of energy and aggression, and one really good way of getting that out is by digging, shoveling, raking, weeding, etc. We sit too many kids down for too long with entertainment, poor diet and not enough responsibilities and then wonder why they have such an attitude problem. If your child is mistreating his sibling, make him do the chores assigned to that sibling. If he is saying hurtful things about his sibling, make him sit down and write 10 positive things about that brother or sister. Be creative. Make sure that the corrective measures are age appropriate.
Memorizing or writing out Scripture. I will first point out that you need to be careful about using God’s word as a “punishment,” but I will also follow up with the fact that God had specific sections of Scripture written precisely for the times when His people disobeyed Him. These Scriptures were to be read at those times as a way to correct them, remind them, and bring them back to Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
To illustrate, my son was being disrespectful and hurtful to his sister, so as part of his correction he had to write 1 Peter 3:7 several times (This verse is about marriage and I was impressing upon him the importance of treating a woman with honor). To this day he can still quote that verse. It impacted him. Another example is when my brother and I were really going at it one time, my mother made us write out 1 Corinthians 13. I don’t reflect upon that as being punished by God’s word, even though I might not have liked it at the time. It planted some very important Biblical principles in my heart.
Lost privileges and possessions. It is often called “grounding.” For some kids, the worst thing you could possibly do to them is take away the entertainment or the smartphone. Do it. Sometimes learning to live without something is a great way of retraining our minds.
It might be that your child is being very disrespectful, and then expects you to take them to their baseball game. Guess where they are not going that night? They will live, even if they are very mad at you. It might hurt their team, yes, but their team will live, too. If you hold the line on this, it might only take one time to drive the point home. By the way, don’t even coaches sometimes bench their players as a way of getting their attention?
Sometimes those lessons are painful, but sometimes we have to sit still and let those lessons hurt. There are consequences to bad behavior. Some parents don’t want to do anything to cause discomfort to their children. It seems like they are trying to be their children’s friends first and not their parents. That is not going to turn out well. We are being their friends by being their parents.
In order to develop adults who have character, respect and self-discipline, we have to shape that when they are young. Love them by showing them the right way. Be consistent. Watch your emotions. Pray always.