One of the most challenging things I faced as a mom was disciplining my children. There were days I felt like all I ever said was no, stop, quit, and don’t. I would come to the end of the day spent.
I hope as a mom you are not where I was but, if you are, here are a few tips that may help you.
Consistency is the key to obedience. Our children are just like us, they want to know where the boundaries are. If you set a boundary, you must uphold it or it is not really a boundary.
Discipline for disobedience not for ignorance. If a child does not know where a boundary is, it is not right to discipline them. If they know where the boundary is or what the rule is and they choose to go beyond or break the rule, that is reason for discipline. The purpose of discipline is to teach.
The discipline needs to fit the disobedience. Discipline takes many forms:
A word of rebuke or reprimand.
A firm grip or a touch that gets the child’s attention.
A time to step away from the temptation.
A time separated to help the child think about their actions.
The Bible is clear there is a time when a “rod” is appropriate punishment. I have found that the most effective punishment varies by child. For one of ours, it was to take privileges away. For another, it was to make them do something for someone else. You will know best what communicates to each of your children to help them not want to go beyond the boundaries you have set.
Defiance is a problem. When a child defies you, they are calling you out. In this case, you need to respond immediately with stern discipline. Remember you are training them to know how to respond in humility to the authorities in their lives. A lack of respect sets them up for a lifetime of trouble.
Always discipline with love. The difference between punishment and discipline is one seeks to hurt, the other to teach. Your goal is to teach your child through loving correction what is best for them. After you have disciplined the offense, renew the relationship with loving care. It may take a few minutes for the child to get over their anger or even for you to get past your frustration, but don’t let a lot of time go by before you reiterate your love for the child and your desire to see God’s best for them.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it. The words the writer used were words used to train a growing plant that would climb a trellis. The plant was taught where to go as it was bent toward the course it needed to take. With time the plant took on the shape it was directed in. How true of our children as well. Keep lovingly bending them to the direction God has for their life.