Years ago when my children were much younger, I struggled to keep up. They required so much of my time and attention and were naughty (like, a lot). It seemed to escalate every time we were with friends or in public and I felt so embarrassed when they misbehaved. Motivated out of pride, I constantly tried to stop and control their bad behavior.
Then a well-meaning person told me to discipline my children EVERY time they disobeyed, talked back or displayed a wrong attitude. It was explained if I didn’t punish every single time, it would allow rebellion to run rampant in our home (rebellion is like witchcraft, you know). We had a handful of kids at the time, so you can imagine how impossible this was. But I believed her and wanted to be a “good” Mom so I diligently tried to follow her advice.
It grieves my heart as I remember: I became a policeman in my own home. I “arrested” the kids all day long, disciplining them for their “crimes”. I thought I had to force them into submission somehow.
Please know it didn’t work, but only strengthened sin all the more! When all you do is focus on punishing bad behavior that’s what happens. What if God always watched and punished us for every wrong we did? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t still be alive!
I’m not saying kids don’t need discipline (they do) but what my kids really needed was words of LIFE spoken over them and true love from their Mom and Jesus.
Sweet, sweet Mama, I’m only trying to help if you find yourself in this place. Please be careful who you listen to. When we become overwhelmed and desperate, we do crazy things we regret later. Our children are precious, created with dignity and made in the image of God. We will give an account someday of how we steward the valuable souls He’s entrusted to us.
After months and months of repenting and crying out to God for answers, He revealed a better way. Below, in a nutshell, are a few of them – simple, and all of it comes from His Word. His wisdom is far greater than our own and so practical. Truly His ways are genius!
1. RELAX: Make an allowance for your kid’s faults because you love them. (Ephesians 4:2)They ARE going to mess up and it’s ok. Jesus already knows and that’s why He came! Lead them to The One who gives them power to overcome sin.
2. Be Humble: Don’t parent out of pride. If your kid misbehaves in public or acts up around your friend’s kids, smile and tell them, “So sorry, we’re trying to work on this right now”. Admit it when your kids are wrong but don’t shame them.
3. Be Gentle: Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.” This totally works!
4. Be Patient: James 1:19 says, “You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Best advice ever!
5. Be Led By The Holy Spirit: Galatians 5:17-18 says, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” Wow, think about this! Ask God what He thinks, carefully listen and then obey. The Spirit gives LIFE, but the law strengthens sin.
6. Last but not least, choose to live in peace: (Ephesians 4:3b). Let the Shalom of God reign in your home!