How to Discipline Your Children – Part Five

Don’t be angry

Ephesians 4:26 gives us sound counsel when it comes to issues of anger. It says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin…”  Anger is an emotion common to all of humanity. The emotion of anger by itself is not sinful for Paul tells us to “be angry”, which is his concession to the emotion of anger.

He does command us, however, not to sin, which tells us that what we do with our anger could lead us into sinful actions. For instance, we may get angry when someone cuts us off on the freeway. If we then calm down and forgive that person as we drive, the anger we experience does not escalate into a sinful action, like speeding up and tailgating the culprit.

Here’s a good rule of thumb whenever you discipline your children. Never discipline when angry. You may overstep good boundaries of discipline if you do.

If you only discipline when you are angry, it probably means you waited too long to act. Often times, parents don’t do anything about misbehavior until they get upset and then they over-react to the infraction.

For example, your teenager breaks curfew by an hour and you are perturbed but don’t do anything. This happens two more times and you begin to get really annoyed but fail to respond. On the fourth occasion, they return home five minutes late and you get really upset and ground them for a month. The discipline doesn’t seem to match the current offense, which is all the teenager sees.

Learn to act sooner.  Address any issue when it happens and don’t allow for things to escalate.

Administer chastisement out of a heart of love

Hebrews 12:6 teaches us that “For whom the Lord loves He disciplines…”  God disciplines His children because He loves them.

Proverbs 3:12 says, “For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” Again, we see that the Lord reproves or disciplines those whom He loves. The writer of Proverbs also gives an earthly example of a father who delights or loves his earthly son.

In reference to discipline, James Dobson says, “Let love be your guide”. If we choose to discipline our children because we love them, we will be on the right track.

So, never discipline as a result of anger and apply discipline out of a heart of love. No one said it was going to be easy.

Something to think about…