“Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17, NIV).
Here are guidelines that may help you as you decide on appropriate discipline for your child.
Don’t discipline your child when he has made a childish mistake; only discipline him for willful disobedience.
Your child is thirsty. He asks if he may have a glass of water and you say, “Yes, use the red cup.” Filling the cup with water, it slips from his fingers and breaks. Should you punish him? Probably not.
Your child is thirsty. He asks if he may have a glass of water and you say, “Yes, but don’t use Daddy’s new red cup.” The child uses the red cup even though he knows he is disobeying you. Should you discipline him? Probably.
Don’t discipline your child too harshly. Discipline should be administered in proportion to the severity of the misbehavior and should be appropriate for the age of the child. Do not discipline your child when you are angry.
Don’t wait too long to administer discipline. Do so as soon as you can after the offense is committed. Children have very short memories. The younger the child is, the shorter their memory. If you wait an hour before disciplining a 3 year-old for running out into the street, she will have no idea why she is being punished.
Sometimes it seems easier to just forget discipline and correction and hope that children straighten themselves out as they get older. Unfortunately, children who are not corrected are handicapped when it comes to living in the real world. However we look at it, disciplining children is part of the job God gave parents. Let’s not forsake our God-given job.
Kimberly Snider is a missionary to the Philippines.
From “Moments for Moms,” a free email subscription.
Copyright (c) 2005 Women’s Ministries of the Assemblies of God.