Discipline is one of the hardest parts of parenting, so a game plan is helpful. Listen in for a threefold approach to practice discipline with your kids! Learn how discipline is about relationship—not a formula to follow.
Resources for Episode 12: A Game Plan for Disciplining Our Kids
- Proverbs 13.24
- Simple Steps Episode 5
- 2 Timothy 3.16-17
- Proverbs 29.17
- Join me on Instagram @teresadglenn
- Grab a copy of my book Becoming A Peaceful Mom ~ Through Every Season of Raising Your Child
Read Episode 12 Transcript
One afternoon my neighbor, Mandy, tapped on our back door. Our 5-year-olds played together a lot, and today our son was at her house. When I opened the door, she smiled and said, “Do you have a minute? I want to show you something—but don’t say anything when you see it, okay?”
On the short walk from my backyard to hers, her words, “don’t say anything when you see it,” echoed in my mind. We got to her yard and the kids were having fun. My friend leaned toward me and explained, “I was in the house getting supper ready and when it got quiet out here, I came to see what they were doing… Look at the brick wall over there.” I let out a soft gasp but remembered her request. Apparently, while her daughter colored the patio with chalk, my son decided to color with crayons on a sizable stretch of the brick wall of their home.
I apologized and she responded, “I’m really okay with it, but I knew you’d want to know, because I would want to know if this happened at your house.” Mandy’s response, at my door and in her yard, made an impression on me. She was mindful that our children were only 5 years old. She saw this as an opportunity for us as moms to help and support each other. And, she gave me space to consider how I wanted to handle the moment.
I thanked her for the quiet heads up and told her that I would like our son to apologize– tomorrow, after he and I talked about it.
As my little boy and I walked home, I wasn’t angry or disappointed in him, but I was surprised. None of our kids ever drew on the walls in our house, so it never entered my mind to teach them not to write on anybody else’s walls. When I asked, “Did you color on Ms. Mandy’s wall?” his almost eager ‘yes’ confirmed that he had no idea he was doing something inappropriate. I talked to him about why we don’t draw on other people’s things and where he is allowed to draw. Then I explained why it would be kind to apologize tomorrow, even though Ms. Mandy wasn’t upset, and he said “okay.”
My son probably doesn’t remember that day, but it was a significant learning moment for me as a mom: to pause and not pounce, to practice patience, to pray for perspective, and to discipline wisely.
Whether your child is 2, 10, or 16, she is going to mess up—unknowingly, unintentionally, and, yes, willfully. She’s broken, just like you and me. God loves us in our brokenness, and one way that we experience this love is through discipline.
Proverbs 13.24 teaches us, “The one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
So, first, I want to share my understanding of ‘discipline’….
When our boys were toddlers my wing-it approach to discipline was wearing me down, so I looked up as many Bible verses as I could find about “discipline” and other related words. From that, I decided to practice discipline, with our kids, through a threefold approach— instruction, training, and correction. In other words, discipline is all 3 aspects combined. Each one builds on and supports the others. Also, I could relate to this approach personally because when I reflected on it, it was easy to see how God has (and still does) discipline me, by providing mewith instruction, training, and correction.
In Episode 5 of Simple Steps, we talked about what a game-changer it can be for us as moms, to decide to really live each day like Jesus’ disciple and try to follow him for how to raise our child to know him. I want to suggest that we approach discipline the same way. Here’s what I mean:
As a disciple of Jesus, we decide to submit to God’s discipline—that is, to his instruction, his training, and his correction. We try to live the way he teaches us to live, and as we do, he faithfully develops our character and shapes us into the person he envisioned when he created us.
2 Timothy 3.16-17 describe this, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The scriptures provide all we need. Yet God generously provides other means, including people and circumstances, to help us. For example, some of our discipline and shaping is through motherhood. We are given a gazillion opportunities over the years, to practice all that God teaches us in his word. He knows who you and I can become, as women and as moms, through his grace and as we respond to his discipline (his instruction, training, and correction) He is our Potter. And, he is your child’s Potter.
However, God appoints you to participate with him and be his primary partner to discipline your child—to instruct, train, and correct her—for the development and molding of her character and how to live. In Proverbs 29.17 it says, “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” God gives a command and a promise: Discipline, by following God’s guidance, and you will receive peace and delight from your child.
In closing, discipline is not a formula to follow. Discipline is about relationship: first, between God and us; next, between our child and us; and hopefully one day between God and our child.
Don’t get me wrong. It was hard work disciplining our children—not because they were bad, but because they were children and because I am a child. They were learning and I was learning. Sometimes they didn’t listen to me and sometimes I didn’t listen to God. Sometimes they didn’t try and other times I didn’t. Some days they were stubborn and other days I was. But every day—every.single.day—God loved us and held us and molded us.
He has a good plan for you and your child and your relationship. Significant aspects of it will unfold through discipline.
Next time, We’ll talk about instruction and training. But before then, I want to suggest two exercises: 1) Read and maybe journal about the 3 Bible passages that were shared today. 2) Think about and maybe invite God to show you ways that he has disciplined you over the years. Be sure to consider all 3 aspects: instruction, training, and correction. I think both exercises will encourage, comfort, and inspire you.
I would love to hear from you if you want to share. Just go to my website – teresadglenn.com.