Biblical Duties of Covenant Parents – D

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 by admin

Discipline. Discipline involves correction and chastisement. You must correct your children when their behaviour violates the word of God, or contradicts your instructions. “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Prov 3:12). But remember to distinguish between the need for correction and the need for instruction. Correction may involve rebuke and chastisement in which the child is made to know that he has done wrong, but in instruction the child is made to understand that there is a better way. A child who is dressed inappropriately or untidily on the Sabbath is more in need of instruction than correction since he would not have so dressed in rebellion or disobedience. Indeed, a child who picked up an undesirable word from his peers should be instructed rather than corrected since there is no way for him to know that it is wrong to use the word.

When chastisement is necessary, remember that judicious use of the rod is not unchristian. It is foolish merely to rebuke a child for rebelliousness or repeated disobedience. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov 22:15). “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Prov 23:13-14). But remember not to nitpick every of their faults; and always seek to be consistent. Nit picking and inconsistency such as requiring something one day and something else contrary the next day will exasperate your children and create even more discipline issues. Also remember: NEVER use the rod in irritation and anger. Always use the rod for correction, and not for venting of frustration or even for instruction! Never spank a child for eating slowly, for spilling his food or for not reciting his catechism correctly. Only spank to correct disobedience or a rebellious attitude, and do so only when you have calmed down. And remember always explain to your child that you are chastising him out of love for him. Explain clearly why he has to be chastised, and then make sure the child knows he needs to repent of his sin, and also to seek your forgiveness (not simply saying sorry). After an exercise of discipline, always seek to restore the relationship with a hug and prayer whenever possible.

Remember also that there is a place for warning and threats as the LORD also warned and threatened His people to turn back from their sin lest He visit them with His chastisement (see Rev 2:5, 16; 3:3). However, never make empty threats that you do not intend to fulfil. At best that would be lying. At worst that would teach your children to shut off as you brew your frustrations. Also remember that children are trained by everything that you do. If you make it a habit to threaten rather than discipline for disobedience, you will be training your children to wait for the threat before obeying. So never issue an instruction and then if the child disobeys, ask him: “Do you want to be spanked?” Give your instructions clearly; and make sure that your children are trained to know that when you have spoken for the first time, it is also the last time and disobedience incurs chastisement!

Remember to be very sparing in the use of threats. If you find your children threatening one another: “If you don’t do this for me, I will not play with you anymore,” then take it as an indication that you are probably overusing threats. And never allow your children to threaten their siblings or anyone else in any way.


Copyright © 2011 JJ Lim

Posted by GDS with permission.

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