Correcting Children (part 1)
Let’s be clear and teach them clearly that the “child” role in the family is that of “servant”. The master is/are the parent(s).
Much of parent child conflict with correction happens because there is a testing and/or misunderstanding about this truth. The child asks by his actions, “ What position of power do I occupy in this family unit?” If the parent is not confident in their superior position or unwilling to teach the child with due respect that the child holds a somewhat lower position, power play problems begin to plague Mom and Dad eventually rippling outward to the extended family. There is a point of no return here. Early training and constant reminding; the maintaining of proper family role boundaries is essential.
Proverbs 29:19 New International Version (NIV)
(In the KJV, the word ‘respond’ is translated ‘answer’- 4617:- reply, answer, response, purpose. It combines the ideas of 6030 with 6031:- to answer, reply, respond; usually verbal, the response can involve action; to sing to or about; testify, bear witness, give an answer, lift up; combined with:- to be afflicted, to stoop down,to be concerned about, be worried about, to be afflicted humbled oppressed; to subdue, humble, mistreat; to deny oneself; to keep occupied, to keep busy, to humble oneself [to be humbled by force implies dishonor).
The purpose or goal to all disciplinary action taken by the master is a response; Usually compliance. Generally, the master is aiming to establish good habits within the servant so that the servant can be trusted to accomplish their given tasks independently. In parenting, we call this response goal ‘obedience’ — Humble, self initiated, occupation to complete the task given without talking back but in a pleasing manner. Whereas, the goal of correction is knowledge of the truth. Both go together.
For example: Ryker (18 mos.) has been told not to get on the fireplace hearth. However, he sees mother and Nana walk on it all the time. Why does HE get in trouble for putting his foot on it. Why can’t he sit there like they sometimes do? The answer is that he is wobbly. It is not safe especially when it’s hot. Grownups are more stable and have learned a proper respect for the fireplace. Ryker’s perception of the danger is questionable. Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes its not. Reality is that the danger potential changes. How is he supposed to sort it all out?
Ryker’s response is to repeatedly test this seemingly unfair boundary. Decisively, to the point that it is fast approaching the appearance of a rebellious attitude. The look at you first, toe to the line defiant I’m a person too type of response.
It’s not rebellion. Ryker is not a “bad” boy. He is testing his environment. Treat it like rebellion and you’ve lost.
Not only does this require correction ( that instruction that brings about alignment with reality) it may also require a disciplinary action as the Scripture teaches… mere words will not bring about a response… a course correction. Action plus instruction with a calm assertive tone is priceless in this situation.
What is the desired response? Compliance with the instructions in a trustworthy, timely and pleasant manner until such time as he is deemed ready (by his ‘masters’) to help build fires in in the wood stove or to be close to it without being harmed.
Hope sure beats death doesn’t it? Sometimes death occurs from ignorance: solution – instruction, warning. Ignoring danger signs as an act of the will –choosing to do so — also has death potential; solution: Correction that beings about realignment. Sometimes death is more than a safety of life issue, it is evidenced by a child’s inability to function properly in one or several areas of living. More about this later… but praise God, God raises the dead. Amen?
Discipline rendered ‘chasten’ in the KJV 3256:- to correct, discipline, to accept correction, be warned, be disciplined; to punish, correct, discipline; to instruct, train, strengthen; to catch; to let oneself take warning.
At the forefront the goal of discipline is warning with a touch of instruction or training in order to strengthen. Essentially we are aiming to enable the child to be strong in the correct area.
11 For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness—in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].
Hebrews 12:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Disciplining a child is much more than saying, “This action bothers me so I will train (spank, give time outs, withhold privileges, etc.) it right out of him.” Though discipline does involve pain, we want instead to focus on establishing good habits, learning to accept constructive correction, learning to process and take warning effectively, build self-initiated skills, (we want them to be independent, right?) and to strengthen what God has already given to the child.
Little masters (parents) need to keep in mind that The Master (God Himself) does not want them to be despised and their angels talk to God about each of your children. So what the little masters say and do becomes very important.
While disciplining children benefits from Scriptural precedent, when disciplining a child it is not wise to use Scripture to effect a little “master’s” own agenda.
EX: One mother would constantly say, “I’m going to make you a meek and quiet spirit if it kills me!” Her go-to reference was the KJV version of Peter’s words:
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:4 King James Version (KJV)
What she didn’t understand was that this passage does not give license to tell someone to shut up when it bothers you. Her child was a talkative, happy little girl until being so brought the child grief. The mother was successful in beating down her daughter’s desire to talk and thus crippled her conversational skills- something that, now grown, child is still recovering from forty years later.
A different look at a more appropriately translated version is in the Amplified:
4 But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:4 Amplified Bible (AMP)
This adorning of the soul is SELF initiated. It is gentle and charming because of inner peace that only God can give. It is not wrong to talk. It is wrong to talk wrongly…. The Bible has a lot to say about talking and those instructions would have been strengthening not crippling.
Raising children is difficult. Disciplining children is not a pleasant task but take Paul’s encouragement: For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness. Let’s not make it more difficult. Let’s purpose to gain the good result.
17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your heart.
Proverbs 29:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The word translated here as “correct” is that same word rendered “discipline” above, Strong’s word 3256 – yāsar. Not only does correction bring habits of righteousness to your child, correcting him or her brings rest and delight to you, the parent. That is well worth the discomfort of the process.
We all come to the point where we realize we can’t do this on our own. We need help. Amen?
Father, God, LORD of creation, please help us to be better people ourselves and to lead our children correctly in the Name of Jesus who saves us from our sins. Emmanuel who is with us side by side, strengthen us to accomplish this task efficiently and excellently. Thank you. Amen.