On Disciplining my kids

So, let’s start with what the bible says:

Hebrews 12:5-12 (NIV) And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[aEndure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.11 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.

A few points I take away: 1) God is the role model 2) Discipline should be out of LOVE. With the goal to teach, and grow them in Godly character 3) As parents, we need to be in a relationship with Christ, walking by the Spirit, and allowing God’s leading with our kids. We need to be under God’s authority as an example to our kids.

Proverbs 29:15 (NASB) The rod and reproof give wisdom,But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

There are several interpretations of this from the experts:

Grace Chou studied the passages in Proverbs after receiving a suggestion from her mother to stop spanking her son. She writes:

“I found the perfect example of grace-filled discipline in Jesus. [Author Rick] Creech notes that, ‘Some of the things of the Old Testament were done away with when the New Testament came into place. Take the adulterous woman in John 8:3-11 for example. The law of the Old Testament stated very clearly that if anyone committed adultery, they should be put to death. But Jesus did not allow the men to put her to death. Instead Jesus said to the men, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jesus did not change the moral principle that was in the law, because he still told the woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” But Jesus did change the way that the requirement of the law was enforced. Jesus did away with the harsh physical punishment, but he still upheld the moral standard.’ I knew it was my job as a parent to do the same. 13,14

Nancy Hastings Sehested, pastor of Prescott Memorial Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, — a Southern Baptist congregation — referring to Proverbs 13:24, said in a 1995 broadcast:

“When you hear the word from this passage of ‘rod,’ what do you think of? Perhaps a stick for beating and brutalizing, right? But what happens – what happens when we understand the rod in this Proverb as the same kind of rod and staff that comfort in Psalm 23? ‘Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.‘ The rod and staff are the shepherd’s tools for comforting the sheep. It is for caring and protecting, never for beating them to death. A good shepherd delights in his flock. The shepherd will go to whatever lengths necessary to provide the finest grazing, the rich pastures and clean water. The shepherd will do whatever is necessary to provide shelter from the storms and protection from enemies and diseases that sheep are susceptible to.”

Jesus said, ‘I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep.‘ This Good Shepherd’s rod and staff comfort the sheep. The rod is thrown out on a path to startle the sheep warning them that they are in danger of wandering into an unsafe place. The shepherd uses the rod to drive off coyotes and wolves. Being stubborn creatures, sheep often get themselves into ridiculous dilemmas, like our children. Children are in need of shepherding like sheep so that they don’t stray off into paths that will hurt them or destroy them.” 17

Robert R. Gillogly,  author and Associate Director of of The Villages, Inc., a youth residential care facility in Topeka, KS. writes: Keep in mind this is from an article called Spanking Hurts Everyone:

“The rod in the Old Testament was basically a wooden walking stick, a stout club, staff, or a tree branch used primarily for defense as in the Twenty-third Psalm, or for marshalling the sheep, or for thrashing cummin. Other uses of the rod included a scourge to inflict punishment or to strike a servant (Ex. 21:20). It was also used as a scepter of authority, the symbol of a king’s power, and an instrument of miracles, such as those performed by Moses and Aaron. But, essentially, the ‘rod of God’ (Ex. 4:20; 7:9; 12:19f.) was used for disciplining people, including children (see Prov. 3:11-12; Heb. 12:5-11). What better means for controlling the ‘folly … bound up in the heart of a child‘ (Prov. 22:15) than by using the ‘shebet‘ or rod. The ‘rod of discipline‘ will drive such folly out of children and make them docile and obedient; ‘the rod and reproof gives wisdom‘ (Prov. 29:15).

From the Hebrew: rod is shebet NAS Exhaustive Concordance

rod, staff, club, scepter, tribe
NASB Translation
club (4), correction (1), half-tribe* (22), rod (27), scepter (11), scepters (1), spears (1), staff (1), tribe (40), tribes (83).

So it is authority, is is guiding our kids, it can be spanking, it is definitely leading them.

Personally, yes I have spanked, I have doubted it. When they are toddler age, and still with preschooler, I pop her hand more than anything, but yes, I will pop her butt. I have a friend I admire who uses a wooden spoon. I have another friend also Godly who only does time out. So I think that it is a personal issue, but if you are going to physically discipline, make sure its in love.

We see Jesus welcoming, touching, hugging children, bringing them to him. Telling us we should be like the children, believing and trusting.

I have some anger issues having bipolar with hypomania. So the important thing for me in my house is space. If I am angry, I shouldn’t be disciplining. I need to make sure that the kids are safe, and I am safe. So a first resort since I also have a child with some mood instability is getting us apart, and giving us time for our knowledge to catch up with our feelings.

I let my older child (6) know that the mud room (with a bench and a pillow, that is also more separated from the main family places as well as her room are okay to go to. When she feels angry, she can go and if she has to use her hands to hurt, to do it to the pillow, not use her hands to show her negative feelings. I try to leave her alone in there, and neither of us talk until we’re calm.

Another big thing is consistency. This is a really hard for me because I have a chronic pain disorder that also causes some fatigue. And I know that all parents are tired, and there are times when it is easier to let kids bend the regular rules, or give more warnings and not backing up with consequences.

Along with consistency is having clear expectations. Ephesians 6:4 says Fathers [and mothers] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

If the kids don’t know what the rules are, they aren’t enforced consistently or they constantly change, this is a way of exasperating (and being unfair).

6:1-4 The great duty of children is, to obey their parents. That obedience includes inward reverence, as well as outward acts, and in every age prosperity has attended those distinguished for obedience to parents. The duty of parents. Be not impatient; use no unreasonable severities. Deal prudently and wisely with children; convince their judgements and work upon their reason. Bring them up well; under proper and compassionate correction; and in the knowledge of the duty God requires.

Discipline should always be accompanied by an explanation of what they did wrong, forgiveness, and then LOVE. Let them know that once it is over, they are still loved. No matter what they do or say, they will be loved.

Bottom line: I want to bring up children who love God above all else, and I would also love to have a great relationship with them, which involves respect on both sides.


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