Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why Your Disciplinary Attitude Matters

I don't usually read the Bible specifically thinking about the different roles of my life; instead I try to let God speak to my heart however He wants. The Bible is so rich that God can show me many different things from one verse depending on what I need during that reading. Earlier this month I was reading Proverbs 3 and had a verse speak to my mothering. 
For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Proverbs 3:12
The verse before that tells us not to get tired of God correcting us because it's a sign of His love; it's a sign that we belong to His family. You've heard it said before that you don't discipline and instruct other people's kids, you teach your own. Why? Because of the motive behind our discipline. 

There are some really bad reasons to discipline and I think they are typically why we discipline. 

We discipline because
1. Our child's behavior annoys/frustrates us. 
2. Our child's behavior embarrasses us. 
3. Other people will think we are a bad mom if we don't. 
4. Our child's behavior inconveniences us in some way. 

In other words, we make discipline all about how we feel. "I can't stand that you do that so I'm going to correct this behavior." And do we ever say- or feel- that calmly? I doubt it. That's the "I'm about to blow my top; watch out world" reaction. And it's not proper for discipline. 

Why should we discipline? We should discipline because we delight in these children that God has given us. We don't want to teach them that sin is ok and they should tolerate it in their lives. We want to teach them that obedience is the way to blessing. Knowing "why" we discipline affects "how" we discipline. We should discipline out of love, not out of annoyance or frustration or anger. 

Do I have this down? Of course not! I don't read my Bible for blogging ideas. I read my Bible for God to speak to my heart about issues in my life. Internalizing this verse will help in several ways.

1. It will help us be consistent. If we are disciplining because our child's behavior annoys us there are plenty of times we can ignore the behavior. Maybe it only annoys us when we are tired or trying to do something so that's the only time we discipline for it. What does that teach our children? That sin is ok sometimes. And that they need to watch our mood to stay out of trouble. Not the message I want to send my kids. I want them to know that sin is sin every time regardless of what I'm doing or how I feel. 

2. It will help us be calm. We're not disciplining because we simply can't stand something any longer. That causes us to blow up in anger and damage our children. Instead we can discipline calmly. Calm discipline helps remind the child that the consequence is the result for their sinful action and not the result of how Mama feels right then. Also it is much easier to be calm when you are remembering that you are disciplining because you love that child and want the best for their life not because they are driving you crazy (although they might be!). 

3. It will help us not give up. Sometimes teaching and discipline seems to accomplish nothing. We work on the same habits day after day after day and it seems to make no difference. But then, all of a sudden, it starts to click. What if you had given up two weeks before? Sticking it out because you delight in the child and want them to learn God's ways will always pay off. It just might take a while. Love will give you perseverance. 

I try not to blog a lot about how to raise or train our children. That's because I know so little and our children are so young. But God's Word and principles are always true. I've seen it lived out in the lives of several "older" families. God's ways always work- even if they are a lot more work! 

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