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Active-duty Parenting

By Dr. Don and Debbi Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
When we discipline our children lovingly, consistently and firmly we demonstrate our love for them.

Family Counseling Ministries -

Parents should strive to discipline their children consistently and decisively. The writer of Proverbs 20:6 asks a probing question,

Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man, who can find?


Parents, who indulge their children and give in to their whining, disrespectful attitudes, or disobedient behavior do not demonstrate biblical love toward them. Rather, they communicate the message that their own needs come first, and they are too preoccupied or tired to deal with the transgression.


When we discipline our children consistently, firmly and patiently we demonstrate our love for them.

Someone has suggested that disciplining a child inconsistently is often more damaging than not disciplining him or her at all. When we allow a child to get away with a disobedient act, the child will usually try to defy disciplinary boundaries the next time a parent challenges his or her will. Consequently, parents make it harder on themselves when they discipline inconsistently.

We must renew our commitment to God to administer discipline to our children as often as it is necessary to do so. We should take seriously the need to be consistent with them, and ask God for the strength to persevere. When we are tempted to give up, we ought to remember that our children’s spiritual, physical and emotional well-being is at stake.

Parents are never “off-duty” when their children are misbehaving.

Although we may be busy, frustrated or weary, we must never excuse ourselves from our God-given commission to promptly discipline our children whenever it is necessary. The way in which we administer discipline should reflect the discipline of our heavenly Father.


God is never “off-duty.” He lovingly and consistently disciplines His errant children. Likewise, God calls us to be on “active duty” at all times, ready to respond to infractions in a manner that is swift, sure, and loving.


When we discipline our children, we should first be careful to check our own attitudes. Are we disciplining our children because we are irritated or angry with them? Have they embarrassed us or wounded our pride? If we express these emotions to our children, they will become fearful and resentful of our discipline.

The rod of reproof should not terrorize our children. Instead, they should view it as God’s loving instrument in their parents’ hands.

We should first take a few minutes to calm down and prayerfully get our emotions under control before we deal with the situation at hand. God’s discipline is always motivated by love. He does not terrorize us or condemn us. Instead, He lovingly restores us. We should seek to represent God’s loving discipline to our errant children.



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