“Chasten thy son while there is still hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Proverbs 10:8
I walked into a restaurant late one night and sat down near a young couple and three small children. It got my attention when the little four year old girl got up on the table. When her father told her to get down, she then crawled under the table. The father then demanded that she get up on her seat. Nothing happened.
Her father then said, “Sarah, you get up here! I said get up here! I mean it!” [Nothing happened] “I am counting, “Five” — “Four’ — “Three” — “Two” — “One and a half” — [Nothing happened] “One.”
[Still nothing happened] The Dad then ignored the situation and went on talking as if nothing happened. Five minutes later, the little girl peeked over the top of the table with a big grin.
This was not discipline. Discipline is not what we say, but what happens after our instructions are ignored.
Most children are not getting the control and discipline they so desperately need. Helping a child become a disciplined person is one of the important tasks of parenthood. An undisciplined child is an unhappy child, seldom getting along with other children. Upon reaching adulthood, they continue to live a lonely life since marriage and the workplace demand self-discipline and conformity.
Discipline is not doing something, necessarily, to the child, but rather providing a structure of restraints for the child. Discipline says, “I love you too much to allow you to go down a self-destructive path”. [Assertive Discipline]
Parents are not disciplining their children for many reasons including the following:
1. The nuclear family is eroding with the site of responsibility now uncertain. As the number of parents are multiplied, the responsibility is divided.
2. Parents are not taking the time to enforce instructions due to the fast pace they live today. It takes time to discipline. With both parents working, children are increasingly left unsupervised for part of the day or placed in the hands of substitute caregivers with substitute values.
3. Moral values have eroded since society recognizes no absolutes. The Bible is ignored or devalued. Parents are not living disciplined lives themselves.
4. Parents are confused as to their rights, responsibility and to the methods to use when disciplining. If adults are confused, think of the children.
5. Children, due to all of the above, have learned the art of getting their own way by manipulation, whining, begging or working one parent against the other.
Parents, we must discipline our children! We must teach our children discipline and obedience because God demands obedience. If our children do not obey us, their earthly parents, how will they obey their heavenly Father?
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