Have you broken promises to your children and issued empty threats? You can regain their trust!
Family Counseling Ministries -
Many parents give their children several opportunities to
obey a command. Consequently, their children quickly learn that delayed
obedience is an acceptable option in their family. God expects His children to
obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit immediately. In the final article of a
20-part series on child discipline, Dr. Dunlap explains that we must teach our
children the concept that to delay is to disobey.
Many Christian parents have trained their children not to
believe them. Several times in department stores, for example, I have heard
frustrated mothers threaten, Jamie, if you dont come on this minute, Im
going to leave you here. Or perhaps you have heard a father tell a child, Get
over here right now, or that big dog is going to eat you up.
Parents should not hold threats over their childrens
heads to terrorize them into obedience. Parents should train children to obey
on first command because it is the right thing to do, and because their
disobedience will result in a swift and sure consequence.
not make threats that you cant or wont carry out.
A parent may say to a child, for example, If you dont
sit quietly while Im driving, Im going to stop and throw you out of this
car. Of course a responsible, loving parent would not actually leave a child
by the side of the road. The child soon realizes that his or her parents sometimes
make empty threats, and the childs trust in them is gradually diminished.
Children soon begin to push against every established
boundary, because they know that their parents will not carry out certain
stated consequences of their disobedience.
not bribe your child with rewards for good behavior.
Have you ever promised your child, If youll be good
while were shopping Ill buy you an ice-cream cone? Using bribes accomplishes
temporary results, but it does not train a child to obey in order to please
It is fine to occasionally reward a child for demonstrating
godly character, but the promise of a reward is not the reason that he or she
should obey. A child ought to obey because God says that it is the right thing
certain that the child makes any necessary restitution.
Explain to children that they are responsible to ask
forgiveness of anyone that they offended by acting disobediently. If a child
lied to someone, he or she must go that person immediately and set the record
straight. If the child stole something, the child must return it and ask
forgiveness of the person that he or she stole it from. If the child damaged
the item that was stolen, he or she must work to earn the money to repair or
Above all, when disciplining their children, parents
should consider the exhortation of 1 Corinthians 16:13,14. Be on your guard;
stand firm in the faith; be men [and women] of courage; be strong. Let all
that you do be done in love.