Training Thoroughbreds

“Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

“… Lest they be discouraged. Colossians 3:21

Question: From the last time you were here, I now know the proper methods I should use in training my children for I use them in training my horses and they work. But when it comes to my own children, I love them but I don’t seem to be able to train them. Why?

Yes! I do understand your concern. You know the techniques but you are not using them. For these techniques to work on children just as on valuable horses they must be applied lovingly, consistently and without anger. You are having a problem with all three.

I have no doubt you love your children, but you mistakenly see love as permissiveness. Tough Love says: “I love you too much to allow you to continue down a self-destructive path.” Assertive Discipline says, “I love you too much to allow you to pick up habits of behavior which will bring you grief and have to be later broken at school or at work in order for you to be successful in life. I love you too much to allow you to develop patterns of sin which will cause you to displease the Lord and cause you to lose your soul for eternity.”

Love says, “No!” at times and means it. You can’t allow your child to stand up on the front seat of your moving automobile and call it love. Love places the object of your love in seat belts.

As you well know, if you keep changing the signals when training your horse you do nothing but confuse the horse – so it is with children. Too often our expectations change depending upon the way we feel, the place we are in, or the people we are with. This must not happen! Your expectations must be the same wherever you are and however you feel.

For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” James 1:20

We strongly love our children, which means we are very emotionally involved. Strong love begets strong emotions. Strong emotions impact not only our ‘consistency’ but also the motives behind our discipline. Many times our reactions are due to our attempts to save face before acquaintances. Our children sometimes embarrass us, thus anger.

There is also a danger of setting ourselves up as the authority figure, therefore we view any infraction as a confrontation against our position as parent, bringing anger and frustration. We must be like Jesus. “Hate the sin but love the sinner.” Disobedience must be handled with emotions under control. If we are having a problem controlling anger it is better to slow the discipline down until we can handle our own strong feelings.

Since your children are yours, they are, of course, “thoroughbreds.” When training a thoroughbred, you want to bend the will and not break the spirit. You must have goals and objectives, behaviors you wish to train into your thoroughbred. There are also traits you want to train out of your thoroughbred.

When your “thoroughbred” does what is right, you reward and never ignore – every time! When he does something wrong, you must correct and never ignore – every time. Never harshly, but consistently, in love. It works on all thoroughbreds – even yours!

It is a terrible thing to have a valuable thoroughbred ruined due to lack or improper training!

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