Disciplining our children is hard. It is something we don’t want or like to do. If you enjoy it, something is wrong, as that is not the example of discipline our heavenly Father shows us.
God is our example and He is the only one we should follow. God is our heavenly Father, and we are His earthly children. We should discipline our children in the same way that God disciplines us. We should not shy way from doing it, as it is our parental obligation to ensure our children are raised correctly. In that way, they will respect their parents, and have a proper view of God, our heavenly Father.
My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12 NLT
There are many examples in scripture of how God disciplines us, His children, the ones He loves. The examples show that He is slow to anger, and therefore slow to discipline. He is compassionate, loving, patient, forgiving and understanding. Yet He wants the best for us. He is just and cannot tolerate unchecked sin. Therefore He disciplines us for our own good, so that we can turn from our evil ways and come back to His ways. He allows us to experience the consequences of our actions, so that we will learn to follow Him.
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you, as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:7-11 NLT
When my son was young, I only used discipline when he would do something wrong. At first, I would stop him, tell him of his wrong, and warn him that he would be punished if he continued. If it happened again, I would stop him and warn him once again, but this time I would tell him that if he did it again, he would be punished. Most of the time he stopped, but occasionally he would do it one more time. At that point, I kept my word and punished him.
I tried never to punish when I was angry. If angry, I would tell him to go to his room and wait for me. That gave me time to cool down, and time for him to think about what he had done. Then later when I was no longer angry, I would go to his room to administer the punishment.
Sometimes it meant he had to stay in his room, or grounded from seeing his friends, or he couldn’t see TV, or use the computer, or use his cell phone. There were times the offense warranted spanking as the discipline. That was the worst level of punishment, at least in his younger years. As he got older, it seemed taking away his cell phone, TV and computer privileges had a greater impact than spanking.
Each child is different, so what works for one may not work for another. And what works at one age, may not work when they get older.
Check out this article from Focus on the Family, which explains the below 5 characteristics of discipline.
- The necessity of discipline is to deter destruction.
- The means of discipline are words and action.
- Our motive in discipline should be to express love.
- The goal of discipline is to teach obedience.
- The result of discipline is short-term pain and long-term gain.
Talk to your children about discipline, and explain how you are trying to model the way that God disciplines. If you haven’t been modeling our heavenly Father, than tell your children you are going to start, and ask forgiveness for any past wrongdoings on your part. It is never too late to start following God’s example and desire for us as parents.