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The Marathon of Discipline: An investment that reaps long-term rewards
What's the primary way you discipline your kids?
Training Your Children
When my husband and I decided to start a family, we knew that it was our duty and responsibility to “train our children in the way they should go.” (Proverbs 22:6). We knew we were called to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). To put it simply, we walked into this chapter of our lives preparing to not only love our children, but to discipline and train them.
If you are a parent, you know that discipline does not come easy. There is only so much preparation you can do. Only until you are in the thick of it do you realize how trying and draining it can be. My husband and I had many conversations before having kids regarding how we would discipline our children. It was good to make sure we were on the same page with things.
What we didn’t realize was the patience and anger that would arise in the heat of the moment. This is what made it difficult. How do I maintain self-control, teach and train my child that whatever behavior they happen to be displaying is unacceptable, punish them and at the same time affirm them in our love?
My resolution this year was to stop raising my voice. The only thing raising my voice teaches them is that it’s okay to be out of control emotionally and speak disrespectfully to other people by shouting. This has been hard, but I have come a long way.
Right off the bat, my children have been so much more responsive and controlled. I’m not perfect, and occasionally lose my cool, but I have learned to go back to my children and apologize. Not only does that show them that I am trying to be better, but it teaches them about repentance and forgiveness. Thankfully children are so forgiving.
Job 5:17,18 says “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For He wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.” In the same way I think as parents we need to always remember that there are two parts of discipline. There is the punishment, whether it’s a time out, spanking, items taken away etc, and there is also the affirmation and the love that follows.
I tell my children all the time that there is nothing I enjoy about punishing them. I would much rather bless them, but if they are going to misbehave and get out of line it is my job to discipline them so that they learn how to grow up as well behaved people. I even reiterate the point by asking them “Do you think I enjoy punishing you?” to which they reply “No.” “Why then do I punish you?”, “So that we can learn how to have good behavior”.
Right now my kids are 4 and under so this is very simplified for them… and they get it. Whatever punishment they receive we make absolutely sure that it is followed up with an apology from them. I hug and kiss them and tell them I forgive them and I love them. I don’t just let the words slip out of my mouth. I cup their little faces look them straight in the eye and talk to them as if nothing else is going on around us. I reiterate that I always love them, even when they misbehave.
Discipline should never be taken lightly. It’s easy to punish a child, but it takes effort and dedication to train your child in that moment and follow up with forgiveness, affirmation and love.
Just as depositing money into your back account is an investment in your financial future, depositing loving discipline into your children is an investment into their entire lives.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:10,11.