At a birthday party, I was able to talk to some moms, and as we talked about our children as we normally would, the idea of “Positive Parenting” came up. I am not very familiar with this concept, and after one mom explained to us, and after reading a few articles online, honestly, I am still unclear on what this method really is (and I don’t even want to attempt to explain). All I understand is that the proponents of this method don’t believe that parents should be imposing consequences on their children, but should only let them suffer the natural consequences of their actions… which means, no to spanking or grounding or witholding of privileges. So if your child fails to obey your instruction to brush his teeth, you cannot give him a consequence for that, but wait until he develops cavities so he learns the importance of oral hygience.
While this sounds very reasonable, and while there is a time and place for allowing children to suffer the natural consequences of their actions, would you really leave your kids to the mercy of their own foolishness if you had a choice in it? As a loving parent, I will discipline my child who fails to brush his teeth before he even feels the real pain of a cavity. In the same way, I will discipline my child who doesn’t do his homework before he even feels the real pain of flunking and repeating the school year. And by discipline, I don’t mean harsh punishment, but giving my child a calculated amount of pain in the form of consequences that can make him learn his lesson, while constantly affirming my love for him.
(Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.)
Now, after reading a few articles on Positive Parenting, I wouldn’t say that I disagree with everything they teach. In fact, there are a lot of things that are good… like loving guidance and setting limits. But what I want to say is this… There are so many parenting methods circulating around, it can be confusing to us parents. We need to know how to filter these things.
I am no parenting expert. I still take a lot of time studying how to be better at this. God gave us a parenting manual. It is His Word. As every car comes with it’s own manual that tells us how to operate, trouble-shoot and fix it, God gave us the Bible to help us understand our children and show us how to raise them. Personally, and I don’t mean to sound arrogant, (please believe me because I really don’t), I will not be quick to believe authors just because they have a Dr. or Phd attached to their name, especially, if what they’re teaching is not founded on the word of God. And any method that doesn’t direct our children to God, but only attempts to change the behavior, misses the very goal of parenting.
Parents, let’s be wise.