Children need boundaries, to keep them within the boundaries parents have to discipline their kids. How do parents discipline their kids? Proverbs 29:15 “…correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”
- Mold the child’s will without breaking the spirit: A child’s will is molded by applying appropriate discipline when the child seeks to go in a direction contrary to the will of the parents. A child’s spirit is uplifted by being valued as a unique creation of God and by being treated with kindness and respect. A child’s spirit can be broken in an atmosphere of overreacting or too many rules, criticising or teasing, false accusations or inflexibility, impatience or harsh punishment. It is like the example of a wild stallion, which has some intrinsic value; however, the most valuable horse turns with the slightest nudge from the rider’s reins. The goal of the master is to break the will of the horse, but not the spirit. Your goal as a parent should be to mold the will of your child, without breaking the spirit. “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21).
- Parents communicate their expectations clearly to their children: Get on your child’s eye level. Prior to any problems, describe in detail what you expect of your child regarding structure and limits. Form an agreement with your child and ask for a statement of his or her understanding of your expectations. When it is time for your child to obey, give one gentle reminder. An example to communicate your expectations: Don’t say: “Don’t you think it is time for you to go to bed now?” Rather say: “Remember, we agreed that your bedtime is 8:30. It’s 8:20 so what do you need to be doing now?”- 1 Thessalonians 4:1 “We instructed you how to live in order to please God.”
- Parents should establish negative consequences for misbehaviour: To establish effective consequences, know your child’s likes and dislikes. If possible, choose a consequence related to the behaviour. Clearly communicate the consequence. Prior to a problem, get your child’s agreement to the consequence. Allow your child to experience the consequence for disobedience. An example: Tommy, age ten, lives on a busy street. He likes to ride his bicycle with his friend who lives across the street, but he was told never to cross the street without an adult. If Tommy disobeys, he will not be allowed to ride his bicycle the next day. “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” (Proverbs 19:18)