It would be nice if our children were naturally obedient and sinless. That’s what most contemporary parenting and child discipline “experts” teach today in our schools, universities, and in the media. The prevailing viewpoint is that kids are naturally good. Any problems stem from domestic and societal dysfunction.
Therefore, discipline for a child is cruel and counterproductive. All children need is patient redirection in order to be put back in touch with their “natural goodness.”
You and I both know that’s not true. The Bible tells us we have a sin nature (see Isaiah 53:6 and Romans 3:23). Reality also reveals that children are inherently selfish, rebellious, and foolish. Those three factors are a dangerous combination.
Of course, even with their imperfections, we love our children. They are wonderful gifts from God. As parents, our job is to be good stewards of them as we protect, nurture, and train them for success.
What do I mean by success? I’m not talking about the world’s idea of financial success or influence. God’s Word measures success by the development of godly character and eternal values in a child. Therefore, a biblical view of our children—along with God’s standards for their character and development—is essential.
Most parents begin to notice a rebellious spirit early in a child’s life. As soon as children are able to understand simple commands, we need to start by clearly and lovingly communicating to them what we expect them to do—and make sure they understand.
My children are both grown. In raising them, I never scarred them, abused them, or had to go to extremes to keep them under control. How? Because from the time they began to express rebellion, Karen and I lovingly and consistently disciplined them.
In doing so, we were able to enjoy our children to the fullest, and they were able to enjoy living in the safe, productive atmosphere we helped create in our home and family.
Today, we still have a great relationship with our children, who have both become well-adjusted, successful young adults raising families of their own. (In fact, our son, Brent, is the President of MarriageToday.)
It’s a pitiful thing to watch parents begging their kids to behave, or trying to manage rebellion without exercising discipline or authority. These parents are confused and helpless because of the misinformation given by today’s secular “experts,” who are constantly changing their minds about what is right and wrong, what is acceptable or unacceptable.
Regardless of what you might here from the government, modern psychology, or the media, parents are given authority over their children by God—and parents need to use that authority for the sake of their children and our society.
Don’t take the expert secular advice about child-rearing. Instead, choose God’s way. His standards are eternal and will never change. Trust in God’s Word and raise your children accordingly, and you will succeed as a parent. In the coming weeks, we’ll look at some specific tips for effective, biblical discipline.