The discipline of our children should be loving and restoring, not frightening or condemning.
Family Counseling Ministries -
Since we represent Gods discipline in our childrens
lives, we should base our disciplinary methods on scriptural principles. In the
15th installment of a 20-part series on child discipline, Dr. Don
Dunlap encourages parents to remind children that parents are responsible to
God to discipline their children properly when they disobey and misbehave. He
also discusses specific biblical guidelines for disciplining children.
Many years ago, Susannah Wesley, a Christian mother of ten
children, wrote a noteworthy explanation of her convictions regarding
I insist upon conquering the childs will early on.
Self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in
children insures their after-wretchedness. Whatever checks and mortifies it,
promotes their future happiness and piety. When we consider that religion is
doing the will of God and not our own, the one grand impediment to our temporal
and eternal happiness is this self-will. Thus, no indulgence of it can be
trivial, no denial unprofitable.
Heaven or hell depends on this alone; so that the parent who
studies to subdue self-will in his child, works together with God in the
renewing and saving of a soul. The parent who indulges the childs self-will
does the devils work, makes religion impracticable, salvation unattainable,
and does all that in him lies, to damn his child, soul and body, forever.
You have probably sung hymns that were written by Susannah
Many of Susannah and Samuel Wesleys children grew up to
be among the greatest Christian leaders of their day. The testimonies of their
lives and the work they accomplished while on earth have continued to impact
people for Christ throughout the years that have ensued.
Susannah Wesley understood the serious and vital truth that
God entrusts our childrens souls into our hands. When we fail to discipline
them biblically their eternal destiny weighs in the balance.
Gods discipline is never frightening or condemning. He loves
us and restores us.
God makes it clear in His Word that parents are the
God-given authorities in the home. We should communicate this truth to our
children from the time they are very young and they must never be confused
about this fact.
God commands parents to discipline their children
consistently and decisively, in the same way that He disciplines His
disobedient sons and daughters. As representatives of Gods discipline in our
childrens lives, we should base our disciplinary measures upon scriptural
We should be careful not to embarrass or humiliate children
when we discipline them.
One very important guideline when disciplining a child is to
avoid embarrassing the child and having outside interference. We should get
alone with the child whenever possible. Biblical discipline should be swift and
It is an unloving practice to make a child wait for a
prolonged period of time to receive the consequences of his or her
disobedience. We must help the child clear his or her conscience before God and
man, as soon as possible.
We will consider some of the practical implications of
this principle in the next article.
Dunlap, a pioneer in the placement of Pastoral Counselors in the offices of
Christian physicians, has conducted over twenty thousand appointments during
his ministerial career. His counseling practice includes adults, children and
families in crisis. Dr. Dunlap is committed to facilitating a network of
telephone counselors. His goal is to provide help for the many people
unwilling, or unable, to meet face to face with a competent counselor. For more
articles by Dr. Dunlap go to Counseling
and Advice on the Health Channel.