Every parent knows that disciplining a child is hard work. It’s not fun because our children naturally resist it. Correction is not fun for them, and they can’t see the long-term benefit like a parent can.
But saying no, giving instructions, and applying consequences to your child are all necessary parts of parenting.
I tell parents at my seminars that they should be thankful when they get to discipline their children. When I say that, I usually get frozen stares coming back at me as if I had started speaking in tongues. Granted, it does sound strange to be told to be thankful when one’s child disobeys.
Here are five reasons a parent should be thankful for the honor of disciplining their children:
- Discipline is investing, and as with any investment, there is a payoff– for both child and parent. Disciplined children test the limits far less than children whose parents neglect to discipline them.
- Lovingly disciplining young children (firmly but without anger) helps them develop self-discipline in the elementary years.
- When parents discipline, they have a chance to engage children in a heart to heart exchange. This allows the parent to know the child deeply. When discipline is done Biblically, with restoration at the end, the parent and child are often closer than before.
- The child who seldom needs discipline may be hiding rebellious thoughts. This child needs the discipline that changes the heart just as much or more than the child who outwardly disobeys. Compliant kids may act out their desires in adulthood, with disastrous results. It would have been far better for this child to have received correction while in the loving laboratory of the home, where parents can intervene, challenge, and restore.
- You always do something better when you look forward to it compared to when you dread it.
If you aren’t thankful for the opportunity to discipline, I’m not suggesting you simply fake it. I am suggesting you take advantage of parenting seminars (like the one I lead for the National Center for Biblical Parenting) to learn how to discipline effectively, which improves your attitude.
When you have a plan and Biblical tools to use, you can enjoy even the difficult task of discipline.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful…yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Can you be thankful the next time you discipline your child?
By James D. Dempsey, Ph.D.
Husband to Gail
Father of three
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Presenter for The National Center For Biblical Parenting
Author of Parenting Unchained
Host of the radio show, Parenting Unchained, at www.LOTOradio.com
Click HERE for a link to Jim’s book, Parenting Unchained!