Effective Parenting 5
In this study I want to consider several aspects of discipline, and why discipline is important for your life as a parent, and for your children as they mature. Then I want to explain reality discipline to you, because I believe it is one of the most effective methods.
A.) First, you need to understand the goal of all your teaching and discipline.
1. The goal of God’s spiritual instruction and correction in your life is to mature you and to enable you to be a person fully equipped for any good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
2. Discipline is also what keeps a person on track and keeps them from turning aside to evil (1 Cor. 9:27).
3. Discipline is what you are called to do as a parent. The Hebrew meaning of the word instruction is actually discipline (Prov. 1:8).
B.) But, are you a disciplined person yourself & do you see discipline as important?
* Many parents are not teaching and disciplining their children because they are not disciplined individuals themselves and do not believe that this is even important.
* What does a disciplined lifestyle help you do?
1. Discipline helps you to be organized so you can help your children get organized.
- You cannot model or be an example of what you are not doing yourself (1 Tim. 4:12).
- If you are scattered and unorganized, so will they be unorganized.
2. Personal discipline enables you to have the follow through & consistency.
- Without follow through & consistency = you are teaching your children that they can get away with doing as they please. David did not consistently discipline his sons and several of them ended up rebelling against him (2 Sam. 13; 1 Kings 1:5-6). Do you mean what you say? Do you do what you say? Jesus warned His disciples not to be like the Pharisees who did not do what they told others to do (Matt. 23:3).
3. Discipline causes you to give incentives & consequences when your children do not follow through with their responsibilities.
- Rewards and consequences are what happen in real life. There is always a reward for the righteous and a reward for the wicked (Ps. 58:11; Ps. 91:8). Your discipline will reinforce this reality.
4. Discipline in your life will lead you to train your children to be self-disciplined.
- Therefore, the more you give in to your child’s desire for “instant gratification” the more undisciplined your children will be. The more you yield to their request to give me this and give me that, the more you feed into their sinful nature’s desire for instant gratification. Your children must learn to wait and work for things, not instantly get whatever they want. Scripture teaches that the fleshly nature of man loves instant pleasure and seeks it. However, this kind of thinking will produce a person that will not prosper in life (Prov. 21:17; Ecc. 2:10). Loving pleasure with its instant gratification is the antithesis of loving God (2 Tim. 3:4).
- Do you teach your children to act on feelings instead of using God’s wisdom and careful consideration before making a decision? The more someone acts on feelings the more undisciplined he or she will become (Prov. 29:11). As a parent do you live as an example of living by feelings or wisdom?
- Do you teach your children to consider consequences before acting? If you do, this will encourage them to become a disciplined person because they will begin to think and reason for themselves. If you make all their decisions for them you will hinder their maturing in this area. Here is an example: When you are on vacation give your children a certain amount of money, and tell them buy whatever you want, but when the money is gone there will be no further purchases. Instead of them constantly asking for you to buy this and that for them, they will be so careful about how they spend their money. This teaches thinking, reasoning, consequences, and discipline.
- If you want your children to be self-discipline do not make all their decisions for them. Give them options within boundaries, but limit the options.
- Do not bailing them out of every trial they encounter, this teaches them about consequences and self-discipline. Do you get bailed out of every trial and problem in life? This is real life. However, if you are the instant rescuer parent to solve every issue you will greatly hinder their self-discipline.
- Teaching them to take responsibility and be accountable for their decisions also produces self-discipline. The Bible tells us why the wicked rebel. It is because they don’t believe they must give account (Ps. 10:13). Making them accountable for their decisions helps them to make good choices.
- Be your child’s teacher and counselor. The more issues they solve on their own the more self-discipline they will learn. Teaching them problem solving principles is a great way to helping them to become self-disciplined. Explain how you would make the decision if you were in their shoes.
- Giving your children weekly chores will also teach them self-discipline. Chores that they must do every week whether they feel like it or not produces discipline.
- Another great principle was taught by Dr. James Dobson many years ago. He said, “Do not do for your children what they can do for themselves.” Learning to tie their own shoes, cleaning their room, as they get older picking out their own clothes each day, making their bed, setting the table, and when they are in Junior High School teach them how to wash their own clothes. The mother or father is not to be a child’s maid for the entire life. The older they get the more chores they should do on their own. When they get a job outside the home teach them to managing their budget, by teaching them to tithe, save, and spend responsibly.
* One of the most important biblical examples of learning discipline as a child and the effects it has in adulthood is Esther. “Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him” (Esther 2:20). Therefore, your best chance you have to see your adult child remain disciplined is start early like Mordecai did with Esther.
5. Discipline always requires a schedule and a plan.
- God is an orderly God. This fact is revealed as God states His plan and fulfills His plan right on schedule. God has a plan and a right time for everything (Gal. 4:4).
- Set a bed time - A play time - A study time - A TV or computer time - A chore time.
- Yes, you can suspend the schedule for holidays, vacations, or a special reason. But, order will help your child to order his or her life.
C.) More examples of reality discipline and how it works.
1. Reality Discipline is a form of discipline used very effectively throughout the Bible.
- Reality discipline directly connects the discipline with the failure to be responsible.
- Paul taught reality discipline in the early church when the professed believers in his day refused to work. Paul told them not to feed those who refused to work (2 Thess. 3:10). This is a very harsh discipline, but it is given when there is a continual refusal to heed warnings and previous discipline. Paul had already warned them in his first letter. (1 Thess. 4:11).
- Discipline should become more harsh and stern the longer the problem continues. Harsh discipline does not refer to being verbally or physically abusive. However, it does mean that there is a time to be stern, firm, or use sharpness with your children. This is especially needed with teenagers or adult children who are repeat offenders in any evil behavior (Prov. 15:10; Mark 3:12). The Corinthians fell into this category of repeat offenders. Note Paul’s verbal sharpness with them (2 Cor. 13:10).
- God told the Children of Israel that if they sinned they would suffer (Lev. 26).
- This is real life and how it works.
2. What will reality discipline help you do?
- This form of discipline is teaching your children responsibility and accountability.
- This form of discipline keeps you from having to beg, plead, or threaten.
3. Here are some practical examples.
a. A pre-school child who runs away from you on the playground when you come to pick them up. They will not listen to your calls. They think it is funny to run as fast as they can away from mommy or daddy. Ask the attendant to watch the child and leave. Go get an ice cream for yourself and come back. When the child says, “I want an ice cream!” You respond, “You could have had an ice cream, but you ran away from me, so I had to go get one by myself.”
b. A pre-school child who refuses to eat when the food is prepared. Everyone else sits down to eat, but the child pushes the food away wanting to play. Don’t beg, plead, or threaten. Simply say, “Ok, breakfast or dinner is over. There will be nothing until the next meal time. You may get down from the table.” Then do not give in later and feed them when they begin to crying and plead. They will not starve to death missing one meal. When the next meal comes around, I am sure they will have a different response. This teaches them that their decisions have consequences.
c. A elementary school child who is not listening to you – say, “If you don’t listen we are going home from our fun time at the park.” If the child or children do not respond, pick everything up and go home. They will cry and get angry with you. Tell them, “I told you that we were going home if you didn't start listening. Next time you will remember.” It will only take one or two times leaving a fun outing before they realize we had better listen, because mom or dad means what they say.
d. A high school student that refuses to use an alarm clock to get up on time to get a ride to school. Don’t beg, yell, or threaten. The next morning let them sleep on and miss their ride. Then tell them that you must walk to school or ride a bike because they didn't use their alarm. No begging, pleading, or threatening. They must take the natural consequences of missed school work or detention for unexcused absence.
4. Here are some key principles to remember.
a. You must be quick thinking and creative with this form of discipline.
b. You must make creative connections between your child’s bad behaviors (Laziness, disrespectfulness) and what your child wants. Then meet out the discipline that corresponds. This keeps you from having to beg, or threaten, or raise your voice.
c. Do not focus on your child's happiness, but on their accountability and responsibility. When they do not get an ice cream or a ride to school, they are going to be very unhappy. They are going to be very unhappy with you. But, they will learn that they are responsible for their choices. This is the goal of reality discipline.
d. When your child gets upset with you, you must remain calm and cool. Do not turn around in an hour or two and go buy them an ice cream. Do not change your mind and decide to drive them to school, because you feel sorry for them or you want to appease them. This will short-circuit your discipline.
e. When your child does not do his or her chores, either hire a sibling or hire yourself to do the chore, without yelling or threatening, and then take away money from your child's allowance. This is reality discipline. When your child has been shorted on their allowance, they will say to you, “But, dad that means I won’t have enough money to go to the movies with my friends tonight.” You say, “Well, next week do your chores and you will have enough money to do the things you want.” This is real life. If you do not go to work, you do not get paid. Your children must learn the same lesson. When you do not fulfill your responsibilities, you lose money, or you get fired. When you do not listen to instruction, it just becomes harder for you. When you rebel, you lose.