Right and Wrong Ways to Discipline

When my children were in their teens, we as a family experienced some very tense times. I confess that I often struggled with anger, frustration, and bitterness, and that I didn’t always carry out my parental duties in a godly or Christlike manner. One day, when I was seeking the Lord about the tension in our home, He led me to a revealing verse of Scripture. Proverbs 19:18 (AMP) says: “Discipline your son while there is hope, but do not [indulge your angry resentments by undue chastisements and] set yourself to his ruin.” I knew this was a warning from God that I had to be very careful not to indulge my feelings of bitterness and resentment, by using disciplinary measures that might make me feel good momentarily, but that could do my children serious harm.

The apostle Paul gives a similar word of caution when he says: “Do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 AMP) The Bible makes it clear that there are right ways and wrong ways to instruct, correct, and discipline our children, so how do we know which tactics to employ in each situation? We pray and ask the Lord to show us exactly what to do. The Bible says in James 1:5 that whenever we need wisdom, all we need to do is to ask God for it, and He will supply it liberally.

We don’t own our children–they belong to the Lord. But He gives them to us for a relatively short time so that we can raise them up to love God and people, and to be a blessing to us and others in His name. If you are a parent, then you have a very important job to do. Do it well by seeking God’s wisdom, strength, and help continually, knowing that when you aim to please the Lord, you will have all the resources of heaven on your side!

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