A post from PJ & Ashleigh Smyth
Here are a few ways that we are trying to raise obedient children:
1. We are confident in our God-given parental authority.
God has set parents in place as the authority figures in the lives of children. Hebrews 12 speaks of how discipline is actually a privilege of being a son. Don’t fear that your child will resent your discipline. On the contrary, they will soon realise that it is a sign of your love for them.
2. We never count to three.
The counting-to-three routine undermines your authority and places your child in the driving seat. You are training them that, essentially, obedience is a negotiation and they can determine the timing of their obedience. Train them to think, “I must obey straight away.”
3. We model it ourselves to authority figures in our lives.
Several times a year there is a clash between what my “boss” is asking me to do and what my family and I would like to do. I always seize these opportunities to explain to my boys that I must obey my boss straight away and with a good attitude, and that although I would much rather spend Saturday morning with them, I must obey my “boss” and go to that meeting.
4. We try not to exasperate our children (Eph. 6:4).
Avoid petty rules. Pick your battles. Be merciful and compassionate. When you are in the wrong, say a sincere “sorry” to them. Also, make sure that you are giving them sufficient attention so that they are not compelled to rebel just to get some time and attention from you.
5. We use appropriate forms of punishment.
We discipline mostly for three D’s: disobedience, disrespect, and destruction (of property or your brother’s nose). Punishment must be proportional to the offense and also proportional to the child’s stage of life. If it is not then you will find that you exasperate a growing child. Also, the mode of punishment must be what will best help the child. Different parents have more “faith” in some forms of punishment than others, and different children respond differently to different forms of punishment. I acknowledge and respect that, although we have had continued success with the primary biblical form of disciplining children with a wooden spoon on their chubby bottoms.
6. We are convinced that it really is worth the effort.
The joy of parenting increases dramatically when you have obedient children, and most importantly, you are equipping your children with the vital life-skill of obedience, which will stand them in good stead in their obedience to God, life, at school, and in the workplace