Discipline and Discipleship: Come Hand in Hand
In my previous blog, I shared with you how we give importance to discipline in our home. Today, I will share with you the way WE do discipline with our boys. It’s WE because it is not just your job or just your husband’s job to discipline. You are a team and you are in this together. Let your child know that the other one will find out what happened just for information purposes. He/she will not be punished again because you or your husband had already dealt with it and had given appropriate discipline when the situation happened.
The Discipline Process
SEEK PRIVACY: If you are in public or when there are other people around, take your child somewhere private.
EYE TO EYE CONTACT: Get down to eye level and talk to your child. Have them look into your eyes while you are talking.
BE FIRM BUT GENTLE: Talk to them in a firm but gentle voice. NEVER correct your child in anger.
ASK WHAT: Ask your child what they did wrong.
ROD TIME: We ask Micah to pull down his pants. We spank his butt.
BOTTOMS UP: He usually cries. He sometimes fights it and tries to block it. We tell him he shouldn’t because it is his consequence. He made a wrong choice and that is why we are in this situation. By this time he knows that what he did is pretty bad. For the most part, he knows it is part of the process and will take it willingly.
BIG HUGS: We give him a hug.
ASK WHY: We ask him why we spanked him (he usually tells us the action, but we also ask him what character he did wrong) like the incident at the mall, (Blog entry: Toddler Tantrums) he told me he was screaming and yelling and it was disrespectful and disobedient to mama and did not honor God.
BRING IT BACK TO GOD: We remind him of the verse, Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right (Ephesians 6:1) or have him recite the fruit of the spirit and ask which one he needed more of today.
I LOVE YOU: We tell him we love him and give him hugs.
PRAY: Pray with him and ask him to ask forgiveness from God. (Because he was the one who committed the sin not you.)
ALL DONE: Never talk about it again.
SHORT AND SWEET: Keep it short and concise but make sure you get the point across.
NO WAY OUT: If only one parent is present, our boys know there is no way out. The other one will find out. Daddy or mommy shouldn’t be the only one associated with discipline because you love them equally and both want the best for them.
Helpful Discipline Tips:
1. Never spank in anger.
2. Slapping is not considered spanking. It is not abusive if it is done in love and with the right intention and that is to correct and train.
3. Pray silently before you speak with your child. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom so you will not say things that will be demeaning. If you are upset, defer to your spouse first until you are much calmer.
4. No Good Cop; Bad Cop! Your spouse is your partner and you have equal authority over your children. You are a team. Wives, trust your husband. If you don’t think they are correcting your child correctly, speak to him privately, and suggest gently how he can improve on it.
5. Correct privately; Praise publicly. The Holy Spirit is ever present to convict you. Be sensitive to His leading and always teach in love.
6. Be gracious because God is gracious.
7. Use words like self-control, fruit of the spirit, privilege, consequences, obedience and respect. Explain them to your child. No matter what their age is, they will understand. Trust and treat them like adults.
8. Make sure you make them articulate what they did wrong back to you. What did you do and why did you do it?
9. Keep it short.
10. Discipline with discipleship in mind. How can I use this to teach my child more about Christ’s character? How can I turn this incident into a learning experience? Your children are your first disciples. Invest in them.
11. Apologize to your child if YOU are wrong. It is not a sign of weakness but of strength and humility. It is a great example of discipling your children because you are modeling what you want them to learn. You can read up on our experience with The Sorry Story.
12. Ask forgiveness. “_______ (your child’s name) I’m sorry, I offended you because ________. Will you please forgive Mommy/ Daddy?.” You need to INTENTIONALLY MODEL and LIVE OUT the bible to your children. It is not always easy, but by God’s grace it is possible.
Discipling your child is not just taking time out of your day to teach them bible stories or memorize verses but it is through the way you communicate in your daily conversations. Is God a part of your normal conversation? Is he a part of your mealtime dialogues? Is God present when you appreciate the outdoors? Make it an intentional teaching moment every time you get a chance. You don’t have to know and quote verses all the time. Instead, you can inject the love of God in more ways than one if you try.
Discipline with discipleship come hand in hand. It allows your child to rise to the occasion as long as you consistently use the bible as your standard. We will always fall short (us included!). But if you teach your children that you expect them to obey, you will be surprised! They will uphold your standards. Remember you are not doing this for show or for people to say, “Wow, what a great you’ve got there.”
But it is for you to revert it back to glorifying God with their actions. In our family, our core values are LOVE, OBEY, and RESPECT. Everything else falls under those. Christ-like character is the standard we live by. Clearly we are far from getting it right and being perfect but at least we always have the Bible to turn to.
Discipline doesn’t only mean getting spanked and for correction. It is also used in setting standards that we expect from our boys. For example, we have trained them not to get out of the chair until we are done with our meals. They need to wait patiently until mommy and daddy are done and we can all be excused together. We practice this at home because we want them to know that even at the restaurant no one is allowed to get up until everyone is done. They are asked to join in our conversation and be involved in the discussion even our little Titus. We don’t bring toys to the table because we don’t want them to get used it and associate eating with anything else other than that. It gets challenging at times but we find ways to include them in our conversation. Micah gets to share what he did that day and Titus gets to show his papa what new tricks he has up his sleeve. It is a time to fellowship and connect with each other. We actually don’t own an iPad or a tablet and we try our best to keep our phones away during our family time so we can focus on each other.
Another aspect of discipline and discipleship is also teaching your children how to pray. As much as we need to be disciplined in keeping our relationship with God vibrant through our own prayer life, we have the responsibility to do this with our children, too. Make prayer a part of your day and daily activities and not just during mealtimes and bedtime. For those of you with older children who go to school, pray with your child before you say goodbye and he leaves for class. If he needs help with homework, ask him to ask Jesus to give him wisdom. If he is having fun at the park, thank God with him. Make talking to God and talking about God apart of your conversation.
Discipline with discipleship is a tall order but if we faithfully do this, we will raise a generation who not only love God but also recognize His lordship and authority over their lives. This is our prayer for our boys—that’s why we do what we do. May you be encouraged to disciple and discipline your children. Every member of your family will benefit from it and it will ripple through every circle of influence you have.