discipline is painful

Posted on Posted in Parenting

We were already geared up to go to Toys ‘R Us, as anonymous child had been wanting to go there for weeks. He was clutching his wallet in his hands, and was looking forward to finally get that toy he’d been saving up for weeks. You know the look on your child’s face when he is about to open a birthday present? I was happy to see that look on his face.

On our way, anonymous child said something that was disrespectful to me. It was hurtful to be spoken to by one of my children like that but I tried to convince myself that maybe i should just let this pass and not make a big deal out of it. I didn’t want to ruin our supposed “date” to the toy store.

But there was the nagging part of me that just didn’t want this to slide. I knew how important it is to God that children honor their parents. And if I didn’t do anything about this, I was communicating to my child that his behavior was acceptable.

So I did it. I explained that what he said didn’t show honor to me and he had to be disciplined for it. I knew it would break my son’s heart, and it broke mine more to see it, but I had to turn the car around and cancel our trip as a consequence of his disrespectful attitude. I reminded him of Ephesians 6:1-3 that says ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’

When children honor their parents, God rewards THEM, not us. The promise of everything going well and enjoying a long life is given to children who honor their parents, not to the parents. And don’t we all want our children to receive that promise? That is why we need to teach our children to honor us. It is not so we will feel good about ourselves, or that others will see how well-behaved our children are, but so they honor God and receive His promise. It was this biblical principle that convinced me to just head back home instead of to the toy store.

When the Bible says “No discipline seems pleasant, but painful…” (Heb 12:11), I think it’s not only talking about the one who is being disciplined, but also about the person doing the disciplining. When I discipline my child and give him a consequence, it doesn’t give me a sense of happy satisfaction or enjoyment. It hurts me to see my child in pain. It hurt me to see the look on my child’s face when I told him that we were not going to the toy store anymore, knowing how excited he was to go. That’s why, often, the easier thing is to look the other way and not deal with misbehavior. But a parent who is serious about raising his child the right way should be tough enough to handle the “unpleasantness” of discipline.

It is not for our own good, but for our child’s.

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