DO’S AND DONT’S IN DISCIPLINING CHILDREN

One of the big stories lately has been the new “no spanking laws” that are trying to be passed. Recently someone asked what I thought about disciplining children. I am no expert, but I know the Bible is full of verses about disciplining children. Here are a few things I think are important…

  1. DO understand that there is a HUGE difference between discipline and abuse (Proverbs 19:18). These two things are light-years apart. The Bible talks about discipline as correcting. Physical and verbal abuse to a child is detestable and would fall under catergories like hatred and anger. But clearly understand that God telling us, “Discipline your children, for in that there is hope,” has nothing to do with abuse but correction.
  2. DO discipline for willful defiance and not for natural childishness. Believe it or not children will behave like children. Your kids are going to do things like forget to do their chores, leave their clothes on the floor and even spill their milk. They do this because they are kids and you should leave room for them to be children. Use discipline for willful defiance, rebellion and disobedience, but always err on the side of grace with childishness.
  3. DON’T wait to late to start discipline (Proverbs 13:24). Discipline should start early in life. Studies show that children have formed most of their values, ethics and morals by the time they are about 6 years old. So don’t wait till they’re grown to start discipline.
  4. DO understand there is a perfect place for corporal punishment (Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 23:13-14). The perfect place for corporal punishment is that well padded place God created on which we sit. And sometimes with very small children possibly the back of their hand will work. Never anywhere else. Ever.
  5. DO have a balance between corporal punishment and verbal correction (Proverbs 3:11-12). Use corporal punishment for more serious offenses and use verbal correction when possible. Also, understand you probably don’t need to be spanking your 16 year old son who is 6’4”. Instead use other forms of discipline such as grounding, withholding privileges or taking away his pickup keys 😉
  6. DON’T be inconsistent. Don’t discipline your children for something one time and not the next (or visa versa). That makes it very confusing for children exactly where the boundaries are.
  7. NEVER discipline out of anger (Ephesians 6:4). If you are angry wait till you’ve cooled off to discipline. Disciplining because you are angry at your child is not a good reason to discipline.
  8. DO explain to your child why they are being disciplined (Ephesians 6:4). Your child won’t know how to correct the problem if you don’t tell them what they did wrong. After disciplining them, talk to them, hold them and stay with them.
  9. AGAIN, ALWAYS ERR ON THE SIDE OF GRACE.

What are some words of wisdom would you give to parents on “how to” or “how not” to discipline children?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
12 Comments Post a Comment
  1. David says:

    From the child’s perspective…

    When you are old enough that spanking is no longer effective…FAKE IT! Pretend it is the last thing on earth that you want as punishment!!!

    I made the mistake at 12 years of age to meet my father at the door with the belt, tell him how many spakings had been ordered, and then casually making myself a snack afterwards. It was my last spanking. Then I began losing television, video games, outside time, etc.

    That hurt when spankings didn’t. I would gladly take a 10 second spanking over a week of no television!

  2. Evan Williams says:

    hmmmmm….. well thats interesting.

  3. Falantedios says:

    10 seconds? I wish I grew up in your family. I mean, I never had one last longer than 5 minutes, but 10 seconds would have been a dream!

    Seriously, though, I would strive to remember that, biblically speaking, the concept of discipline is first and foremost TRAINING.

    Its usage, its connotation has shifted in our time to mean “punishment” pure and simple. Then, we read all the discipline passages with that lens and miss the point.

    Training takes dedication, planning, follow-through, and understanding. Punishment is a part of training, but it is only effective as one method in an integrated life of disciple-making.

    in HIS love,
    Nick

  4. Monalea says:

    I believe you should spank when the child in question’s soul is in danger of hell fire; lying, stealing, rudeness, disrespect, etc. etc. etc… Too often we freak over the little things and let the ‘real’ issues pass.

    Monalea

  5. cdj says:

    Well, I cannot speak as a parent, but I CAN speak as a teacher, and although I do not spank my sophomores, there are definitely consequences for negative behavior. I love my classroom and my kiddos because things run smoothly and it has a lot to do with consistent correction/discipline and understanding grace when they just make a mistake. Also, your list just reiterated what GREAT parents I had!

  6. Paula Harrington says:

    We discipline because we love. Society is refusing to see this. We have five children and all five have at one time or another been spanked (yes even with a belt a time or two). I don’t regret it however it does hurt that we’ve had to go to extreme measures. (You know the ole, It’s hurt me more than you.) I can’t remember a time that I didn’t cry too when the kids were in terrible trouble even the times when I was furious at them. Too many parents though don’t have the sense to know the difference between abuse and discipline. I see this all too often working in the school system.

  7. David says:

    I wish I could remember more details about this…

    Last year there was a school board meeting (I believe it was in or around Dallas) that dealt with behavior problems in the schools. What I remember was one student standing up at the meeting to address those in attendance and saying something to the effect of “the behavior problems of todays children are the result of your generation saying that when you become parents you will NOT do things the way your parents did “, such as spankings.

    Basically he called them out on the fact that they were spanked, grounded, etc and they turned out fine. Yet, they refused to do those same things to their own children, instead worrying about their psyches, etc and now they are dealing with the consequences of relaxed discipline.

    He received a standing ovation.

  8. Piper family says:

    Trey – I love your blogpage…I try to read it everyday and catch your words of wisdom…as a parent of almost-3 year old twins, I constantly question the spanking issue and how I should best raise my children. But I agree with all of your thoughts on this issue…and even though my twins sometimes show their rude side, they are definitely old enough to make good choices and have consequences for their actions. And it makes me so proud when they do use good manners and treat others with kindness…even at their young age. And then there is the side of me that wants to comment as an educator…oh well, I’ll save it for another time. Thanks again for your thoughts on this very relevant topic. I appreciate your insights! And thanks for the birthday wishes to my husband…he IS a pretty great guy and I’d love for you to meet him someday.

  9. Matt says:

    I know you have said it and others have as well, but Major in Majors, and Minor in Minors. One of the greatest things my parents allowed for me was the ability to be a kid. They enabled me to have some small mistakes learn important life lessons from them.

  10. TREY MORGAN says:

    David … I remember those days. I remember the first time my mom grounded me. I told her, “How unfair. Can’t you just spank me or something?”

    Nick … believe it or not I got a few licks in my days growing up. I’d like to tell you that it was because my brother was always getting me in to trouble. Surely you’d believe that, right? You and Monalea are right, it’s all about discipline and teaching.

    Ms Jenkins & Ms Piper … you have my permission to get either of my two boys who need it.

    Paula … thanks for the advice from a mother of 5. You have to have learned something.

    David … I would have stood and clapped too.

    Matt … I didn’t know you had made any “small” mistakes. :)

  11. KJKEB says:

    Trey, good advice all around. I think the hardest thing to discern as a parent is to determine what your child is capable of at each level of their lives. It is sometimes hard to determine what they can or can’t do versus what the will or won’t do.

    Great blog. I haven’t been by in a while and I forgot how good it was.

    ~Kevin

  12. Falantedios says:

    I figured it was always Mona getting you into trouble :)

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Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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