The Purpose of Discipline

Categories: Positive Parenting

Christian parents should administer discipline by allowing God to be their starting point rather than an afterthought.

They must first examine their own character as children learn by example and by observing godly attitudes in their parents’ lives.  

Consistency in behaviour is the first step towards successful results.  If a child is reluctant to perform their chores, they may not comprehend the concept of servant hood in their family.  Is serving taught in a home where the father defers all household chores to the mother?  Or is rudeness or disrespect modelled in a mother’s phone conversations and “innocent” gossip?

The purpose of any discipline is to leave an impression.  “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is great than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:15-16). Christian discipline is not sporadic, depending on convenience or circumstances. Whether in public, at grandma’s, or at home, the process should be consistent. Correction and instruction will then be opportunities for God to work through parents in any situation. Consequently, the discipline process requires significant time and commitment.

There is key question you can ask:

How does the lesson I am teaching coincide with the Lord’s plan for my child? Christians use discipline to encourage their child’s spiritual nature, not the child’s natural instincts. Learn as many ways of responding to your child as you can, while always speaking and acting in love. Then, as children mature, they will reflect the character of Jesus Christ. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

Another key point is that there is a difference between a punishment being given in anger and disciplining in love. The root word of discipline is disciple (= a student, a learner). When God disciplines us, He is making disciples of His children. When you discipline your children, you are making disciples. Discipline is defined as training that develops self-control. Discipline in the Biblical sense includes three levels, instruction, training and correction.

Always check the motive behind the discipline – annoyance, embarrassment, anger or a desire to develop godly character in your child.

Finally it is very important in a two parent home that both parents agree on the style of discipline so that there will be consistency between them in their approach.

Andrea Onduku

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