Discipline: A Painful but Fruitful Necessity
Discipline is a word that often brings a sour taste in many, especially modern parents that associate it with negativity. It is more often than not used when something is done wrong. But that shouldn’t be the case. It’s a beautiful and positive thing when done right and guided with biblical principles. You see, the bible actually talks a lot about it and has provided us with wisdom to back up this seemingly scary word. Hebrews 12:6 says, “The Lord disciplines everyone he loves; he chastens everyone he accepts as a child.”
As our Father, the Lord chooses to discipline us because He loves us. It may not always come in the form we expect but He does follow through with His word. He does it out of love. And that’s the best way we as parents should disciple our children— IN LOVE. Bottom line, we discipline them because we love them. A common question I receive is, “What age did you start disciplining your boys?”
Early on. My husband and I knew that from the moment I delivered our sons, they were born sinners. In fact, we were all born sinners. Therefore, not only we, but out our boys needed discipline early on. Remember, we discipline them because we love them. We never expected it to be easy but we didn’t know how hard it would be either.
Our basis for discipline is the Bible. Proverbs 13:24 says. “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he whom loves him disciplines him diligently.” To be diligent means to be earnest, steady, and with energetic effort. This is done only when you really care about something. And that’s how the bible defines how we should discipline our children.
We have a spanking rod. In fact we have six of them — one in the kids’ room, our room, the kitchen, the diaper bag, the car, and my purse. I know it seems crazy, right? My husband thought I was nuts at first but when I explained to him why, he quickly agreed. I knew that my kids wouldn’t choose one place to throw a fit. They would do it on their own time and by their own will. We wanted to be able to address their sin right away. Sometimes the situation warranted the rod and sometimes it didn’t but we wanted to make sure that we were prepared to discipline them properly when the occasion arose. Addressing God’s disobedience should never be delayed or taken lightly — a lesson that we are still learning even as adults. Also, it was easier for them to understand their misbehavior when we addressed their sin immediately. Having the rods in the rooms allowed us to do this. A caveat, however, was that we would never try to use the rod to establish fear of us but rather as a tool to ultimately fear disobeying God.
Both our boys were disciplined at 7 months old and for different reasons. You see, though my boys are very different, they both have extremely strong personalities. If you know me and my husband personally, you’ll know where they got it from. Haha! Both of our boys are very opinionated and they will share their opinions willingly.
Micah first was reprimanded at 7 months for purposely sticking his hand into the socket. He even waited for me to look then did it after strict instructions that he wasn’t allowed to. I spoke to him and even at 7 months, he knew what he was doing — he was testing me.
Around the same age, Titus protested against being strapped into the car seat. As I prepared to put him in, he stretched out his body, screamed in anger, and shook his head at me! WHAT?! Micah even said, “Mama, Titus is saying no!” I was shocked but I also secretly wanted to laugh because it was funny! I remained stern and told Titus it wasn’t a choice. I was putting him in whether he liked it or not. He was soooo mad. I did what I had to because it was for his own good. It was tough but any mom (or dad) would have done it. He learned after that that it was a battle he would never win so he has since given up fighting with me.
Similarly, discipline isn’t always pleasant but it’s always for his/her benefit. God says, “He disciplines those he loves.” We discipline our children because we love them (there’s a reason that I said this twice already). Our children are sinful and in need of discipline. The beautiful aspect is that Christ allows us to do it the right way. We need to show our children the love that God showed us as we train them now. It takes a lot of sacrifice. Sometimes it involves humiliation and usually requires a lot of patience. Oftentimes, they will purposely test you and challenge you in the most difficult circumstances. You can read my experience on Teachable Moments in Toddler Tantrums. http://whenhippostalk.com/teachable-moments-in-toddler-tantrums. Remember to always discipline in love and that grace should always abound even in the most challenging situations.
My husband and I decided that we would (try) to win every battle (at least for now) because we want to train our boys to have a healthy fear of the Lord. We discipline with discipling them in mind. We want them to understand and know the heart of God. We want to correct them in love because we to train them to obey God. We want them to choose to obey us because they love the Lord. We want them to be truthful because it is what is right in God’s eyes.
This even applies for our 12-month-old Titus, we tell him. We finally saw that Micah understood this when he told Titus that he wasn’t listening to Mama so he was not listening to God. We want our boys to always bring it back to God because He is the ultimate authority. We remind them constantly that we discipline and spank them because we love them.
We actually try to discipline after saying things once. I know it sounds harsh but we believe that delayed obedience is disobedience. Just like when your child doesn’t hold your hand when you cross the street, there is no second chance if a car drives by, right? We are still working on that but we try as much as we can to refrain from counting and say things more than once. We try to have them understand that Mama and Papa only say things once.
Remember that’s why we have the spanking rod in every room. Easy access allows me to correct the wrong character right there. Having to get it elsewhere causes distractions along the way.
In my next blog, I will share with you our step-by-step discipline process. It is my prayer that you will be inspired to take on this difficult part of parenting because this is the one the yields the most fruit for our children.