This is part 2 of a 3-part series. For part 1, click here.
2. MY CHILD IS GOOD. HE DOESN’T NEED DISCIPLINE.
That’s what I thought too. My first baby looked so angelic I didn’t think he could do anything wrong. The first few months, all he did was eat and sleep and coo and make us smile even when he was asleep. He was such an adorable baby! He was the easiest, happiest baby I’ve seen. But when he started walking and talking, he learned to assert his will and insist on what he wanted. One such incident was when i told him to stay away from the electric fan. Inspite of my warnings, he was so mesmerized by it he decided to stick his little finger inside while it was running. Until now, his finger bears the scar of his foolishness.
I remember when Janina was 2 years old, everyday I would give her chewable vitamins. I thought she loved it because everytime I put it in her mouth, she would give me a smile and walk away happily. One day when I was cleaning her room, I looked under her bed to check for toys that were left there, and to my surprise, I found a tiny pile of moist, sticky chewable vitamins. I realized that everytime I would give her a tablet, she would rush to her room, take it out of her mouth and hide it under her bed. How could my sweet 2-year old princess do that to me? Where did she learn to deceive her own mother like that?
I could go on and on with my stories. There is no denying it. Our children have the sinful nature. Well, our kids will always be adorable to us no matter what, but even with the cuteness factor, they are still sinners.
Prov.22:15 says “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” The bad news is no one is exempt. Even your easy, good-natured, happy baby has foolishness in his heart. It’s only a matter of time that this foolishness will manifest itself. The good news is, God has given us the tool to drive that foolishness out of their hearts: discipline. The sooner we recognize that folly, the sooner we can drive it away.
1. Whenever you see foolishness, or willful disobedience, always discipline them for it. Consistency is the key. The challenge is when we are tired, because we normally just let them get away with it. At the same time, you also need to consistently praise them and reinforce obedience.
2. Be careful not to mistake immaturity for foolishness. Immaturity is not knowing any better. If both my 7-yr old and 1-yr old make a mess during dinner, surely my 7-or old will get disciplined. But my 1-yr old is still too immature to have a mess-free meal.
3. The first few years are the telling stage. This is the time when you establish most of the rules and boundaries. Be patient to remind them. “Do not touch, do not hit, do not bite, do not eat the goldfish…”
Click here for Part 3 of Discipline Myths.