What exactly does the Bible say about disciplining your children and how to do it in a positive, loving manner?
Children come into the world with open minds. They see things with fresh eyes. Listen to this list of proverbs (most of them non-biblical … common saying we've probably heard a thousand times). A teacher shared the first half of each proverb with her young students and let them provide the ending. Listen to the way kids completed these sayings:
Better to be safe than … to punch a fifth grader.
Do not bite the hand that … looks dirty
As you make your bed so you … mess it up
You can not teach an old dog new … math
A penny saved is … not much
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and … you have to blow your nose
Children should be seen and not … spanked or grounded.
Kids come into this world as little sponges … they absorb and are shaped by the influences they are exposed to.
In this article we're going to think about how to raise a child so that the Soil of his or her Heart is ready for God's Word to take root in it. And in doing that, we'll answer this question about what the Bible says about disciplining children.
Luke 8: 4-8 (NIV) "While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5" A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grows up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. "When he said this, he called out," He who has ears to hear, let him hear. "
There are 4 kinds of soil mentioned in this parable-each soil type representations different conditions of the heart.
FIRST: THE PATH
Soil becomes a "path" when it gets stepped on a lot.
When I was kid, I used to race motocross, you know-dirt bikes. My friends and I were always looking for good place to practice riding. There was this one field just behind a Village Pantry convenience store and we sort of claimed is as our own. We send a lot of time in the field trying to cut through the high weeds and create some kind of track that we could buzz around on … and it about wiped us out! Creating a half-mile of track requires a LOT of weed chopping! We finally cave up and just started riding around where we wanted the track to be. At first it was really slow going … w were basically just pushing weeds over. But the more times we went around … and around and around … and around … and around … you get the picture — the weeds began to disappear … and a path began to emerge! And low and behold, as we continued to ride the path got wider and before you know it-we had ourselves a track! We just trampled those weeds into oblivion!
And so it is with a child's heart. If it gets stepped on, you know, talked "down to" or "at" instead of talked "to" … like a person (trust me-even if a child is too young to articulate this … they can feel it, and it shapes them) again and again, over and over it will become hard (defensive, unreceptive, closed, like a path).
Blaine Bartel, in his book, Let me tell you what your teens are telling me, says, "Young people may act like they wish you lived on a different planet, but they really want your guidance and direction when it comes to their spiritual lives . They also want your correction and discipline when it comes to their natural lives. "
Blaine goes on to say that what kids need MOST-is TIME. And the most important thing we can do with the time is just visit with them-and mostly listen. There's a great old teaching that says, "If you really want to build a relationship with a person, always seek to understand, before you seek to be understood." This is hard for us parents sometimes. We feel like we've been there and done that so we understand it all just fine and our kid just needs to be respectful and listen! Well, that may sound okay on paper, but in the real world of battling personalities – it just will not cut the mustard. You've got to spend time really listening to your child-seeking to understand them-this will … (listen to this … this is very important) EARN YOU THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD. Respect is an earned thing, not an automatic, inborn right. If you keep this in mind you'll do well.
James 1:19 (NIV) "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry …"
Another awesome scripture on parenting reads, "Train up a child in the way he should go and in keeping with his individual gift or bent, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22: 6, Amplified Version)
Did you catch that phrase, "and in keeping with his individual gift or bent"? What a great phrase! That means every child is unique and that a big part of parenting is observing our kids-watching to learn about them: What kind of temperament do they have? Are they spontaneous or very planned n the way they live? Are the artistic or athletic? Are they a leader or a follower, are they strong murdered or peasants? All these personality traits-and many more-are all part of a child's "individual gift or bent". As parents we are to encourage and shape and mold and point kids in a positive godly direction that is COMPLEMENTARY to WHO GOD MADE THEM TO BE.
Couple suggestions along these lines …
DO NOT MAKE UNFAIR COMPARISONS, "I wish you were more like …" Ouch! That's a lap around the track of their heart with your dirt bike! Do that too many time and you'll have a hard hearted, closed kid.
HELP KIDS BE SUCCESSFUL. In other words-as you discover who they are, what their gift and bent is. Give them opportunities to thrive and shine in their strengths-get them those piano lessons, or let them set up their room like a Broadway stage and put on performances, or play that sport, or write those stories, or whatever it is that you see them leaning toward. Be an encouraging them to pursue their passion in a God-honoring way-and in so doing you will be "training them up in the way they should go and in keeping with their individual gift and bent.
AN IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE …
Our kids will never "learn" how to live from what we say "to them alone. They will instead "follow" what they see modeled "by us.
So we avoid raising kids with HARD HEARTS by RECONIZING THEM, giving them time, listening, seeking to understand before we seek to be understood; by observing them closely and supporting them in their areas of strength so they can shine; and by placing an emphasis on MODELING right behavior instead of just talking about it.
SECOND: ROCKY SOIL
In the text what's emphasized is "SHALLOWNESS". The idea is that there's depth, no room for roots dig in and get established. In human life terms, there's no foundation for healthy growth.
I see this all the time in "BIG STARTERS" … "Oh yeah! Sign me up! …. and then a few weeks pass, and their gone … no foundation … no depth.
We've all been there and experienced elements of this, so what causes it and how can we overcome it with our kids? .
If I was going to grow something in my hard, rocky back yard, would I just throw some seed out there and wait for it to grow? No-that seed would not have a chance! It might spout up quickly if it got some rain … but it would end up being burned up by the sun-because it would not have a chance to grow good roots. If I want that seed to grow, I need to get out there and GIVE THAT SOIL SOME ATTENTION. I need to break up the soil, put some good nutrients in it (fertilizer, etc.) and get rid of the rocks. THEN plant the seed. Now it has a chance.
Giving our kids attention in a similar way, via, godly, loving discipline, breaks up the soil of a hard heart and removes those rocks that inhibit growth. It creates depth of character in a heart … and deep character is the fertile soil that allows real faith to take root and grow.
So, so far we've learned that parents are in the listening, observing, encouraging, supporting, guiding, character building and disciplining business. Quit a tall order eh? But it's worth every ounce of energy that we pour into it! And as we lean on the Lord, He will give us was we need-be it strength, wisdom, or any other means to be the kind of parents He calls us to be.
Now let's define "godly discipline" for a moment …
Here are five core elements:
1. MODELING: Live your faith. Model the kind of character and behavior you're driving to instill in you kids.
2. CAUSE AND AFFECT: Consistently provide boundaries for your kids. Communicate to them what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and when they cross the line-discipline them appropriately. The goal here is to show them that actions have consequences-good choices produce reward and poor choices produce unwanted results.
3. FORGIVENNESS FOR REPENTANCE: Practice this. Teach your kids that genuine sorrow and repentance results in genuine forgiveness. IMPORTANT-It does not always take away the consequences of poor choices, but it does restore us to a good place relative and allows us to move forward in love and joy with the people we may have hurt or offended with out poor choice.
4. BLESSING FOR OBEDIENCE: This is basic stuff, but it's vital. IF ALL WE TEACH OUT KIDS is that that they get punished for bad choices, but it's not going to inspire them or help them grow or aspire to achieve anything big with their lives. BY REWARDING OUR KIDS for right choices we let them experience the joy of reward! God promises all kinds of rewards to us in Heaven for a life well lived! He also promises all over the Bible to bless godly living. Take that play out of God's play-book and make it part of your parenting.
5. AN EVERLASTING SUPPLY OF LOVE AND HOPE. This one needs very little explanation. Love your kids. Always hope for the best in them. Always encourage and support and believe in and support them. This is so powerful and so essential. Love is the one thing that will get you through the tough times. It's the one thing that your kids will never forget. You may blow it somewhere with your discipline, or your modeling, but if you love your kids-they will sense that and that will cover a multitude of mistakes!
By being consistent in those five areas-you will break up that rocky soil and create some depth of character that is ready to receive good seed and produce real growth.
THIRD: THE WEEDY SOIL
Do you know what a "weed" is? It's an unwanted plant. My grandma, growing up in the hills of Kentucky, ate dandelion greens all the time. I tried them once, mixed with turnip greens and they honestly were pretty good. To Grandma dandelions were not weeds … they were food! But to me, and probably to you-their weeds!
If you've ever done any gardening, then you know that one of the BIG reasons weeds are not wanted is because they keep the good plants from getting the good stuff (sun, water, nutrients) then need to grow.
There are lots of "weeds" out there competitiveness for space in the soil of our kid's hearts:
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV) "Do not be misled:" Bad company corrupts good character. "
ENTERTAINMENT: books, TV, movies
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) "Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do."
Colossians 2: 8 (NLT) "Do not let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ."
As parents we are entrusted with the responsibility of guarding our kids and helping them navigate through the maze of messages, images, issues, questions etc they will encounter growing up. It's out job to help them "make sense" of things. This is why it's so very important for us to have a good solid relationship with Jesus ourselves and be students of His Word.
FOURTH: GOOD SOIL
When we talk about "good soil", we're not really saying that THIS DIRT is any better than THAT DIRT … THERE DIRT is more cultured. It's been tilled, the rocks have been removed, it's had essential nutrient replenished if needed, it's been watered, etc. Ie IT'S READY TO SUPPORT GROWTH!
The principles are the exactly the same when we talk about a child's heart. Every child is a precious gift from God-created in his image-with the capacity to know and love and serve God and accomplish wonderful things with his or her life. Our job as parents is simply to cultivate the soil of their heart through: time, listening, modeling, godly discipline (cause and effect, forgiveness for repentance, Blessings for obedience … constant love) guidance and encouragement ..
As we do those things consistently-we will remove the weeds and the rocks … and we'll instill good nutrients and godly principles and truths into our kids hearts … and most importantly as we MODEL a life of faith (NOT A PERFECTLIFE) but a genuine relationship with Jesus … our kids will pick up on that, and it will become part of their lives.
NOW … TAKE A DEEP BREATHE.
That's a tall order … parenting is not for wimps …
I think it's one of the hardest-but most important and rewarding jobs in all the world! I mean after all, all we're doing is raising the next generation that will determine which direction the world goes … No pressure — right?
It's a tough job. I'm definitely not perfect at it. But I'm committed to it! And that's the big deal. That's what God calls us to-to commit to being this kind of godly parent. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Phil 4:13) … even parent!
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you ever want or need to talk. My contact info is here with this article. We're all in this together!
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Source by Brad Windlan