Disciplining Children in Kindness
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa
- Grab your Bible, your journal, pen, a candle and go to the place where you meet with your Jesus. Pray specifically for one of your children who may be struggling right now. Ask the Lord to show you during your quiet time how you can encourage that child. Make time to talk to your child and focus on their heart. Speak words of life to them and show them love in a way they feel loved. Be sure to tell them that God loves them, sees their heart. He is there for them, and you are as well.
- Read Colossians 3:20-21, Proverbs 19:11, and Proverbs 20:3. Ask God to speak to you about how to parent in the power of the Holy Spirit with kindness. Write Proverbs 19:11 and Proverbs 20:3 in your journal, and record them on your phone, or write them on a sticky note and put them where you can keep them in front of you.
Disciplining Children in Kindness
In preparation for this Bible study, I looked briefly on the internet for some advice on child discipline. I was, once again, reminded why I don’t like to go the internet for any type of meaningful advice. It seems like everywhere you turn, there is some “expert” willing to give you their take on what’s wrong with your child and how to fix it. They offer what seems like a perfect formula for fixing everything that is going wrong in your home.
While I do believe that there are some wonderful places and people available through the internet for parenting help, my belief is that there is One person who you need to come to first. This One person knows you and your situation better than anyone else does. This One person is Jesus. Remember, He is also the Word, who speaks to you about every area of your life.
He formed you and your children in the womb; He has much to say to you about how you parent and discipline your children.
So much of the “wisdom” from the experts, even Christian experts, only take into consideration rules and regulations. They seem to fix themselves on the verses in the Bible that emphasize disciplining your children, which are in a limited amount in Scripture. Only God can give you the insight you need to determine whether your child needs tough love or a lot of grace.
As parents, we can find ourselves camping out on verses such as Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.” I completely agree with this verse, and we disciplined our children when they needed it. However, what I feel is neglected from the Christian experts and often Christian parenting in general, is looking at the whole corpus of Scripture.
There are many other verses that we can apply to our child discipline as well:
“Love is patient and kind,” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins,” (1 Peter 4:8).
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children so that they will not lose heart,” (Colossians 3:21).
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense,” (Proverbs 19:11).
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love,” (Ephesians 4:32).
I believe that we as parents need to have the balanced approach we see in scripture. It is between discipline and love, law and grace. We should be in prayer as we go through our day, all day long, asking Jesus for wisdom for each specific situation.
Does Jesus want you to forgo punishment and resolve the problem, such as when the child is exhausted or hungry? Is Jesus trying to teach you to be more patient and give grace?
Is Jesus trying to teach you how to love that particular child who seems to be in trouble more than any of your other children?
Do you need to choose to avoid a battle and simply offer your child a diversion? If they are doing something they shouldn’t, you could simply divert their attention to what is the right thing for them to do/choose. You can say, “No, not this, but instead this.” That way you won’t always find yourself in a battle of wills with your child.
Some things simply are not worth quarreling or making a big deal. This is another area where it is helpful to pray for wisdom in the morning, and then keep asking for wisdom all throughout your day, as each situation arises.
Only Jesus knows what each of your children needs, but I do know that Jesus wants us as moms to be kind even when we are having issues with our children and disciplining them.
Go to Jesus and ask Him to show you your child’s heart and what’s really going on. Ask Him for the wisdom to know what your child needs and the grace and patience to be a kind mom, even when they deserve for you to be harsh.
May we all ask the Lord to help us to be like the Proverbs 31 woman who is kind and has, “…the teaching of kindness on her tongue,” (Proverbs 31:36).
Questions to ponder
- Are there any areas of my parenting where I am harsh with my child/children?
- What can I do to show kindness to my child/children who are always in trouble?
- Instead of having to discipline for every offense ask yourself, “Can I offer them a diversion?”
- Pray and ask God to show you if this is the case and how you should do it. Write them in your journal and pray for God to help you to manage these types of situations without being angry or unkind
Instead of giving consistently negative consequences, try some type of positive reinforcement.
When my (Deb’s) children were going through a season of arguing with each other, I put out two mason jars on the counter and put 10 dollar’s worth of quarters in one of them. Whenever I noticed them trying to get along and be kind to each other, I would move a quarter to the empty jar and exclaim, “I caught you being good!”
Then when they would squabble or be unkind, I would take one out and say, “Oops, I noticed you being unkind.” As soon as they earned the 10 dollars, we would go out for ice cream or something they liked to do. This worked very well to establish new habits with my children and was a fun way to teach them to be kind!
Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.
If there was one thing Deb would love to share with you is that God is personal and loves you as you are. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved by our amazing God! Come as you are! His loving presence can be practically known and experienced. He is not a God who is far away, He is dearly near and easily found. He longs for you to come to Him!