Author: Ron Graham
Discipline a Gift to Your Child
—A key responsibility of parents
This lesson outline addresses the responsibility that parents have to control and discipline their children.
It is not a detailed manual on raising children. The lesson simply outlines some basic Bible principles related to the discipline of children. Family circumstances vary greatly, and each child in a family is different.
One must modify the methods of discipline according to the need and for the sake of the child. However the principles in this lesson are very basic and apply in every case.
1 Good Discipline is a Good Gift
- Discipline is an act of love (Proverbs 15:24).
- Good things are given by good parents (Matthew 7:9-11).
2 God Smiles on an Obedient Child
- He frowns upon disobedience (Romans 1:28-52).
- He wants children to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-4).
- Obedient children please him (Colossians 5:20).
3 Child Discipline is Like All Good Discipline
- Analogy: "If a man cannot control his household, how can he take care of the church of God?" (1Timothy 3:1,4-5,12).
- Inference: There is no great difference in principle between disciplining children and others.
4 The Nature of Good Discipline
- Following God's example, provide a reasonable set of rules to be obeyed (1John 5:3).
- Like the elders of the church, act as shepherds, leading, not lording (1Peter 5:1-3).
- "Do nothing by partiality" (1Timothy 5:21, James 2:9).
- Use the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" rather than arbitrary or fashionable rules (Ephesians 6:4).
- Don't draw out a punishment, and let the return to good grace be speedy and reassuring (2Corinthians 2:6-8).
- Appropriate discipline may cause a child to feel pain and to cry. However if the child soon recovers with no residual harm, then it is erroneous to regard the child as a victim of "abuse" or "violence". (Proverbs 23:13-14).
- Remember that discipline is unpleasant for the moment, but yields good fruit. Appropriate discipline helps the child; it does no harm (Hebrews 12:11).
- The Bible goes so far as to say that parents who spare their children discipline hate their children (Proverbs 13:24).
- Whilst the Bible commends discipline, even painful discipline, remember that alongside "discipline" it puts "instruction" (Ephesians 6:4). Children most of the time can be corrected by kindly teaching, by patiently showing, explaining, reminding. Children can often be corrected by this gentler discipline, that does not involve judgment or punishment, but simple guidance and encouragement.