The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
You catch your preschooler sneaking a treat after he’d already been told there would be no treat if he didn’t eat all of his food. You begin to yell, which causes him to look up with tears in his eyes and your heart wrenches. The guilt is overwhelming and you decide a tiny treat won’t hurt. I get it, we have all been in a place of guilt when it comes to discipline and follow through with our children. I was able to stop that behavior after my first child luckily and do not feel guilty for disciplining my children anymore.
We Are Not Friends, I Am Your Parent
I am sure you have been called mean a time or two. You have probably even heard your child shout, “I don’t like you anymore.” That is a something all children will say at some point and the last thing it should do is affect you emotionally. Our children are not mature enough to see the big picture of our discipline, they only see what they are not allowed to do right now.
We are not in our child’s life to be their friend, we are here to raise them up as well-rounded, honest, law-abiding, and responsible adults.
When we do something wrong, we are shown the error of our ways. Maybe not by God directly yelling at us, but we see it in the consequences of our mistakes. You were given your child from God to manage as he would.
As children, none of us see the consequences of our choices. We only have limited mental capacity and ability to understand things at that point in life. That is the main reason children need discipline, rules and parenting.
You Are The Mature “Brain” Your Child Needs
You are the mature brain for your children, the one who can see ahead of time the consequences their actions will have. If they run into the street without looking, you foresee a car hitting them. When they do something you have told them not to, you know that in adulthood they will have laws and rules to follow and that the sooner they stay within the boundaries of commands the less likely they are as adults to do as they please.
When I think of how I want my children to behave as adults, I envision respectful, honest, compassionate, and rule abiding adults. We are told in Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.” Not only are you told this in the Bible, but you can witness it every day in the acts of those who did not have a firm foundation of parenting at home.
Often, you can look at the background of adults who misbehave and you can see the lack of parenting they had. When I am around children, I find the parents who either have no discipline or simply do not follow through, have children more likely to think they run the show. And you know what? They do run the show.
I love this verse, “do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die,” Proverbs 23:13. No, I do not use the “rod” on my children, but simply disciplining your child is NOT going to kill him. Withholding a treat, sending them to their room, sending them to bed early, or making them work for the things they have are not going to kill them. These things will actually be quite beneficial in the long run.
Children Thrive On Structure
I have read many books over the years that suggest that kids do thrive on structure and discipline. They need to have the consequences of their actions explained. Children need to be shown accountability for their actions, so that one day they can see their wrongs and apologize for them. One day they will be comfortable acknowledging and improving from their mistakes.
These things do not come naturally, they NEED to be taught. If you fail to implant these things into your child’s heart and mind throughout their childhood then you are setting them up for failure in adulthood.
They will fail at relationships because they will never see their mistakes. Blaming those around them for the things that go wrong will be normal. In their career things will be hard because there is no foundation set inside of them for following orders and rules. These adults will now believe their way is best and likely disregard their bosses directions.
Discipline is a BIG part of structure. Your children know when they are doing something you told them not to. All children test boundaries and know if they are caught they will be in trouble. Knowing that you will be there watching out for them, even when they are doing wrong, assures them that they are safe.
Do Not Let The Guilt Overwhelm You
My daughter is in the preteen stage and pushes a lot of boundaries with me. We are in a season of butting heads and having power struggles. She feels she knows best and I am just being unfair.
Through all of this though she has been assured a number of times that I love her very much and that I want her to keep that in her heart. She has also told me that she loves me and understands that I do not reprimand her out of hate, but out of love.
I have no issue punishing my children, but I try to make sure to occasionally remind them that I am punishing them for a reason. I remind them that I love them so much and that one day I will not be there to prevent the consequences of their actions from happening. Thus, I am teaching them now how to not only make the right decision, but eventually be able to foresee the impact of their behavior.
I have explained to the older ones that their little brains are still growing and that until they grow up and have the ability to decide for themselves, I am here to make sure they are doing what is best for THEM.
You Are Leading Your Child To Live As Christ
Next time you find yourself feeling guilty try to remember that you are trying to lead these children to live as Christ lived. They cannot get to that point without discipline and guidance. We all have the same goal, doing what is best for our children. Well, until they transition into adulthood, YOU are the one who knows what is best.
No matter what hateful things they say to you or how upset your actions make them feel, remind yourself that YOU are the adult and YOU know what is best for that beautiful baby. They won’t dislike you or be mad at you forever. And as I said earlier, you aren’t here at this point in their life to be a friend so if they don’t like you much, then so be it. One day they will be grown and it is then that you will have a friend in your child.
What are some ways you deal with your guilt for disciplining your child? Is it hard for you to filter how they feel or what they say in times of anger?