Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why Children Need Discipline?

My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12
A Word on Discipline
A news story recently told of a “pastor” who had written a book with his wife on discipline that had people very upset.  The book was found in the possession of parents in homes where severe child abuse and even deaths of children had occurred.  As the author and his wife spoke of the book it was evident that the principles shared were certainly not of God.  It was filled with examples of how to raise your child just like you train a dog.  Examples were heavy on control and severe punishment to use fear to change behavior.  It was sad...very sad.  It was evident and even stated that the targeted end was to break the spirit of the child.
Everyone has their favorite story of a parent or caregiver’s futile attempts to correct a child’s improper or dangerous behavior.  Parents have been known to stretch their own creativity to extremes in an attempt to bring structure to the life of their child.  While discipline may not be the most exciting part of parenting, it is certainly one of the most important. 
All other lessons in an individual’s life fail to compensate for a lack of discipline.
To “discipline” means to teach or “disciple.”  The mental picture of a master and a disciple is a good picture of how the relationship should be with parent and child.  If only the child wanted to be like the parent like a disciple does his master!  Unfortunately, the child is often seeking to be just the opposite.  And yet, the parent still bears the responsibility of communicating the importance of personal discipline and behaviors to the child. 
Discipline is not merely Punishment
Discipline is not the same as punishment.  Studies have shown that physical punishment, such as hitting, slapping, and verbal abuse, is not effective to change behavior.  While such punishment may seem to get fast results, in the long term it is more harmful than helpful.  Physical punishment can discourage and embarrass children and cause them to develop low self-esteem.  Some experts argue that it also promotes physical aggression in children by showing them that violence is acceptable and that “might makes it right.”  Instead of using only control or punishment to correct behavior, children need to learn what behavior is proper and why.  
Why Children Need Discipline?
You, as parents, are your child’s first teachers.  Disciplining your child may be difficult, so understanding the reasons for it is important.
For protection
Often parents discipline children to protect them from danger.  Having a child experience limited pain for stepping into dangerous ground may keep them from being seriously hurt later.
To get along with others
Discipline can help children learn to get along with others and develop self-control. This is seen when a twelve-year-old reminds her friend of a school rule and helps both of them avoid a conflict.
To understand limits
Discipline can help children understand limits and learn acceptable behavior. 
The purpose of discipline, then, is to teach children how to make wise decisions when dealing with relationships and problems in their lives.  The parent whose goal is to equip a child spends more time guiding their minds than controlling their bodies.  Are there times when you have to take control for a child?  Absolutely.  But it should not be the norm.  Our scripture of the day is good to remember.
Scripture to Claim:
Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. Ephesians 6:4  (The Message)

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