Monday, November 16, 2009

Feeding their Consciences

When my children were young I remember how simple it was to discipline them.  For example, if they were to take a piece of candy out of the candy dish even though I had told them not to, I would simply discipline them and tell them, "I told you no," as my explanation.

Now my children are older and this tactic no longer suffices.  You see, as they mature, they move from just being action controlled to needing their own moral reason why.  But I am a busy mom and taking the time to give that moral reason why can be challenging.  I tend to fall back into my old ways of parenting for convenience sake, unfortunately, it doesn't work well.

God has created each one of us with a conscience and a need for moral boundaries.  In order to be an effective parent, I need to take the time to research my scriptures, and pray, pray, pray for wisdom from the Lord as I discipline my older children.  God knows their hearts and He also knows the right way to teach each one of them.

One thing that stands true is God's Word.  If we feed this to our children regularly, then they will have the truth to fall back on when they are standing on the fence with a moral decision. 

Another tactic that works with my older ones, is to defer punishment to a later time.  This gives both of us ample time to ponder the situation, not to mention giving me time to cool off if I'm particularly angry about a wrong decision they've made.

Philippians 3:14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

What is the goal for our parenting?  To raise up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  If we keep our focus on that goal, then the time it takes to be effective parents will be worth the effort.



Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

Sonya...feeding them God's truth is the best! You are right!

Romans 8:5-8"
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind[f] is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."

And yes, sometimes (many times) I need to cool down and prayerfully seek God's wisdom for discipline.


B His Girl said...

It was easier when 'no' and 'because I said so' might sound like an answer. God's word provides answers that last and prove themselves to be true. I pray we have the wisdom to serve it. B

Warren Baldwin said...

I agree. When children are little a simple 'no' is not only sufficient, I think it is essential. It teaches children to respect authority.

But as they get older, they need the priciples of proper behavior deeply ingrained within them, which is what you describe here. Explanation is one important way.

I like how you describe this distinction as 'action control' and 'moral reason.' Good post.

Edie said...

What a truth you have here Sonya. I was raised on the rules without explanation. I have looked back on my life so many times and thought "If I had just understood the reason, I might have made better choices."

I wish I would have had this kind of teaching while I was raising my daughter too.

Excellent teaching!

Steve said...

Your right. when my kids were growing up,(NO) was about all they got from me. I knew nothing about the word of God while they were at home. They can now see a change in me, but its hard for me to reach them.
I've wished many time that I had talked with them of why, I'd say no.
Two of my three kids are lost, I never talked to them about God, cause I knew very little myself. I see them doing the very same things I did, as far as their kids go. Please pray for them. God Bless

Kelly Combs said...

I share your parenting goal! Nothing is more important than building up a strong moral warehouse in our kids. That can't start until they are old enough to reason. Seems like you are on the right track to me.

Great post.

Dusti said...

As a homeschool mom I think a lot about what do I want to teach them. Yes, the final answer is to love to God and follow after His ways. It is so hard to be creative with discipline, think of the moral reasons, and have scripture ready when they have done something wrong.
Thank you for this post-it is so important to be in the word and praying for our children. I needed this-

TanyaLea said...

Sonya ~ I so needed this today. This topic has been center stage in our home lately. We've had to deal with a few trust issues with our teenage daughter, and taking the time to do it right is SO important. At first (I hate to admit) I did NOT handle it well. I let my emotions take over and my mouth run free. I hate it when that happens. So I've since returned to the Word and prayer, and asked the Holy Spirit to help me do this right and be the parent and effective disciplinerian that I need to be to my that I can continue to train her up in the way she should go, while being a good example as I do it. He has been so faithful to help me through some of these 'seasons' and I know that my daughter loves the Lord and wants to do right before him... yet those teenage 'attitudes' still come into play and tend to light my fire. But God has helped to calm the flame and teach me how to approach these issues. I can't imagine going through this journey called "parenthood" without Him!

Thanks again for this wonderful post!! <><

Blessings and Hugs,
~ Tanya

Stacy Wittkamp said...

Your words are so true!
We need to approach discipline with the same goal as Our Father has with us. To build their character and not necessarily always do what makes us or them the most comfortable." Building character in our children requires more of our time and attention than trying to "control" behavior. We want children who obey from the inside not just on the outside.!