“A parent is invested by God with a degree of authority over his children, which he cannot neglect to use, without being guilty of trampling under foot the institutions of heaven.” – John Angell James, The Christian Father’s Present to His Children
Parenting today has been virtually ignored and in its place has emerged the duty of damage control. Homes are child-centered and young lads and lassies are put on meds like pop-psych Pez dispensers and discipline has become a four letter word. The freight train has heavy cargo and many are left wondering what to do. In an effort to aid the weary I’m posting up a few key parenting pointers. I pray they yield good fruit.
Speak calmly and face-to-face
When you give an instruction or command do not be agitated or lose control. Do not yell or degrade with a poor attitude. Give your instructions while looking them in the eye and make sure they have understood you. Avoid yelling commands from the other room or down the hall.
Never repeat yourself
When you give an instruction or command to your child; say it once. If they don’t obey, take immediate action. The ‘I’m counting to ten’ routine is nonsense and only trains them to listen after you count. Don’t do it.
Do not discipline based on hearsay
Send single witnesses on their way. Remember the biblical mandate to verify an event that you haven’t personally witnessed by two or three witnesses. Tread lightly on sketchy testimony.
Use the rod
Spanking is not old fashioned, it is God’s means of correction. Never spank when angry and make sure that your child knows the offense clearly. Do not use your hand, use a rod.
Let your yes be yes
If you say they can’t watch TV if they misbehave at grandma’s house, then stick to it. No idle threats. Be true to your promises with them and to the threatened consequences.
Mom? Dad? Do not contradict one another. Children love to play one parent over the other if they can get away with it. Present a consistent unified front of authority. Fathers head your home.
Be mindful of their spirit
Your goal as a parent is to break your child’s will so that they understand submission and obedience. It is not your goal to crush their spirit. Harshness, rudeness, yelling, belittleing, and screaming should have no place in your tool box. Parenting involves learning how to be the immovable, loving wall of authority in their lives. Don’t forget the love.
Be merciful and just
Occasionally show them what God’s mercy looks like by being lenient with them. This is at your discretion just as it is the Lord’s choice to show mercy to whom He chooses. Don’t use this tool too often; however, for if mercy is shown often it ceases to be mercy.
Harmonious lives are built around consistency and training requires routine. Make sure you establish comfortable patterns in your home that everyone can thrive in.
If you make a mistake parenting them; own it. If you blow it; admit it. Nothing brings sweetness and beauty into a home more than a gospel-focused heart that confesses wrongs and seeks the forgiveness of others, even when that other is only three. Let your children see the salve of grace lived out.
And lastly, remember that you must take time to learn each of your children. Learn what makes them tick. Discover their strengths and understand their weaknesses.