Disciplining Children: Making Good Rules – Part Three

“Then God spoke all these words, saying…” Exodus 20:1

Guideline #1: Set clear boundaries and limits.

Guideline #2: Avoid unannounced or arbitrary (random) rules.

Guideline #3: Make sure they understand the rules and guidelines.

Guideline #4: Keep the rules simple and few. 

#5 Avoid rules they cannot keep.

There are some rules or commands that are virtually impossible to always keep. For instance, disciplining children for not being potty trained by their first birthday or for wetting their bed would be unfair and unwise. 

I have heard parents say, “You are not leaving this table until you’ve eaten everything on your plate and completely finished your milk!” This would probably be okay as long as you don’t pile on enough food to choke a horse or pour them 32 ounces of milk. 

Always remember that there is a substantial difference between willful defiance and childish abilities and irresponsibility. 

#6 Be consistent with the rules.

Nothing frustrates people or little people more than inconsistency. Children need the security of knowing what to expect on a consistent basis. 

Sometimes, parents are nitpicking one day and lenient to the point of disinterest another day. This confuses children and could cause them to become insecure and even rebellious. They may even act out in order to find out what you really mean.

In athletic events, players and coaches are always complaining about the officiating. The one thing most coaches and athletes want from officials and referees is consistency. They want to know what to expect.

As children of God, we should be ever thankful that He always gives us rules that we can keep and acts towards us in ways that are consistent and loving. Thanks be to Him for being an incredible Heavenly Parent. 

Something to think about…