How to Discipline Your Children – Part Three

Expect immediate obedience.

In Genesis 17, God tells Abraham to circumcise every male of his household as a sign of the covenant. Verse 23 tells us that Abraham did it “on that very day” or immediately. At this stage of Abraham’s life (99 years old), his response to God was immediate.

As parents, we should train up our children to respond with immediacy. Too often, we count to ten, which means we give our children nine counts of disobedience. It communicates to them that they do not have to obey immediately.

Normally, when parents count to ten, their children will eventually let it get to ten to see what their parents will do. Theoretically, when parents get to ten they expect immediate obedience, so why not begin obedience with the number one.

Immediate obedience has its practical rewards. If your child is about to run into the street, it is much better if they respond to your call to stop immediately than to respond when they get into the middle of the street.

Children need to know that you mean what you say and you say what you mean.

Always administer chastisement with instruction.

Ephesians 6:4b teaches us to “…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Discipline is connection with instruction. Explain to your child why they are being disciplined. It makes very little sense to discipline your children and then have them confused about why they are being disciplined. Children do not always make the correct association.

When I was a little boy, I started a fire in our house by playing with my father’s cigarette lighter, which he just filled with lighter fluid. I was told to never play with his lighter. Back in the day, when you filled a lighter with fluid there is residual vapor about the light, which could catch fire, which it did. I dropped the lighter and a fire started on my father’s dresser. I did a childish thing and ran out of the house.

I was fairly disciplined. However, I wasn’t sure what the exact reason was for the discipline. Was it because I played with something I was told not to play with or was it because I started a fire or was it because I ran out of the house without telling anyone about the fire?

In retrospect, I was disciplined because I disobeyed by parents’ rule of playing with my father’s lighter. When I broke the rule, something bad happened.

When we discipline our children, we should be sure to expect immediate obedience and administer chastisement with instruction.

Something to think about…