THOUGHTS FOR PARENTS


The following ideas are taken from an article entitled:

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STRICT AND HARSH PARENTING

Is forbidding a grammar school child from “dating,” or prohibiting a girl of 9, 10, or 11 from putting on a full face of makeup austere parenting? I believe not. Austere parenting has a bad reputation in our culture and is often misunderstood. Strict house rules (by that I mean limit-setting) are often accompanied by harsh parental demeanor, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  It is not house rules—which may be stricter than those of other families—that drive children toward rebellion; it is the attitude in which those rules are applied in the home.

The idea of harsh parenting should not be linked with strict house rules but with acts of verbal or physical aggression, such as yelling, name-calling, shoving, or threatening the child.  These acts move children to become more peer-oriented, transferring their affections and source of identity from their parents to their friends.

Harsh parenting may make the parents look like the enemy, pushing children to view their peers as those who care about them. Once the parents are seen as the enemy in the eyes of the child, the child has no qualms about disregarding parental authority and disobeying house or school rules. All this makes sense and fits the notions, experience and/or stereotypes many of us already have regarding the children of harsh parenting. The valuable distinction to make here, and one I hope is not lost, is that distinction between “austere” or “strict,” vs. “harsh.”

In our American culture, where liberty is often merged with licentiousness, strictness is too often fused with harshness.  Parents and their methods are either “harsh” or not harsh, and in the end, all we can do is formulate our own vague prescription: “don’t be harsh.” Yet this does not mean becoming lax–allowing an increase in risky behavior in already troubled children.

I was a child of harsh and strict parenting, and, as a mother, I struggled not to deal with my children the same way. Most children who rebel against harsh parents are not necessarily rebelling against the strict rules. The cure for harsh parenting, therefore, isn’t permissiveness, which is what I discovered as I matured and eventually became a mother. Children who rebel, rebel against unkindness.

At the heart of good parenting are characteristics like love, respect, and tenderness. The rules of the home are not what make or break childrearing; more so, it is the spirit in which parents implement those rules that makes the difference. The antidote to harsh parenting is not permissiveness but love.

THOUGHTS FOR PARENTS

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth (Eph. 6:1-3).

Most parents consider this to be a scripture solely for children, but it does have its flip side. Yes, God has ordained that children must obey their parents, but what does this indicate about parents? It shows us that GOD is the one who has ordained that parents are in authority over their children. What are the implications of this arrangement?

By God’s wisdom, you (including your authority) are necessary and good for your children. If your children had no authority over them, how would that affect them? Loving parents want what is best for their children, and do their best to give them commands that are for their spiritual and physical benefit. God showed that this is His reasoning in giving commands to His children.

  • Deu. 10:13To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

We must understand the Lord has given us the “right” to command our children as their authority, but at the same time, this is also a responsibility, a stewardship. Our children do not belong to us. They may be little children for a few years, but they, just as we are, are living souls. Scripture shows us that every soul ultimately belongs to God.

  • Ezek. 18:4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

God cares for every soul. To God, we are no more “important” than those we have rule over, whether children or servants.

  • Job 31:13-15If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; 14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? 15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

As parents, we are nothing more than stewards over our children for a few years, and will have to give an answer for the way we conduct this responsibility. Our dealings with them MUST be based on what is good for our children, not based on our own pleasure.

  • Luke 12:42-46And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. 45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

We don’t have a choice; as long as we are parents, we ARE made to be in authority over our children. How will we exercise this authority? We will have to give an account for our stewardship.

  • Heb. 13:17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

For our child’s good, we must communicate and teach this authority arrangement to each of our children (best done first during a calm, loving, teachable moment, not in the middle of a conflict.)

They must have the understanding that our authority is not based on the fact that we’re taller or meaner or stronger than the child. It is because God, our Creator and Owner, has given us these roles, and responsibilities.

When a child obeys his mother or father, he is ultimately obeying God. If he disobeys his parents, he is disobeying God. That is scary.

When I, the mother, instruct, train and punish my child, I am obeying God just as the child is obeying God. I do not have a choice about whether to spank my child when he disobeys. I must obey God, out of both fear and love for Him and love for my child. It is utterly essential that this principle be taught to our children at a very young age.

When a child is taught the idea of authority, he then is equipped to cooperate. Until he is taught, it must seem entirely arbitrary that we think we have the right to “hit” (spank) him, but he doesn’t have the right to hit us. Would it be any wonder a child would only respond in anger and rebellion to being spanked? That makes no sense until the foundation of God’s teaching on authority is laid.

  • 1 Sam. 8:4-7Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
  • Eph. 6:1-7—Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
  • Num. 16:28—And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.

The first order of business, in bringing up a child in the way he should go, is teaching him what God’s will is. How can a child know what to do without being taught first? What does God say about teaching our children?

  • Deut. 6:4-9Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
  • Eph. 6:4And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
  • Col. 3:20-21Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
  • Pro. 23:13-14Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
  • Pro. 19:18Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
  • 2 Tim. 3:15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
  • 2 Tim. 1:5When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

The authority has to follow a pattern the child can count on (consistency). If the rules are only enforced sometimes, or even too slowly, the child is always going to test, “Let’s see if I get away with it this time.” This is simply human nature. Think policemen – if tickets are arbitrary or inconsistent in an area, everybody speeds there. If a particular area has the reputation for speed limits being strictly enforced, folks obey the law!

  • Ecc. 8:11Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
  • Rom. 12:6-8Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy,let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

This requires diligence and faithfulness on the part of the authority. In order to be effective, authority should be feared to a certain extent, until obedience out of love overcomes that fear. Then fear is no longer necessary.

Should we feel apologetic for enforcing the rules?

Does a policeman apologize for handing out a ticket?

Does a policeman have to shout and get mad when he hands out a ticket?

Should a parent need to get mad to discipline a child? Which is more effective, anger or consistencies in enforcement with clear instructions about the rules?

If the police only enforce the rules part-time, what does that do? If a parent only enforces the rules some of the time, what would that do?

  • Eph. 6:1-12Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 5 Servants, be obedient to them that areyour masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Notice some things about these verses:

Our children are commanded to honor us. Can we affect how easy or difficult it is for them to obey this command of God?

  • Pro. 15:1A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
  • 2 Tim. 2:24-25And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
  • Gal. 5:22-23But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
  • Gal. 7:9Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
  • James 3:16-17For where envying (zelos – heat) and strifeis, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
  • Heb. 12:5-11And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
  • Jer. 30:11For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.
  • 2 Sam. 7:14-15I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
  • Luke 12:47-48And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
  • John 19:11Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Rebellion is the main thing we must punish—always, every time, without fail, and it deserves the greatest punishment.

  • Zech. 7:12-13—Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. 13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts:

Being a kid (doing dumb, careless or impetuous things without thinking, like stepping in dog stinky or spilling a glass of milk) does not need corporal punishment; it needs verbal correction. Children are not born with intuition or adult inhibitions. We need to instruct them in those things—lovingly.

Is it best for a parent to correct a child in anger?

  • As ye would therefore that men should do unto you, do ye also even so unto them (Matt. 7:12Luke 6:31).

Correct with measure; be certain the punishment fits the crime. Correct consistently, lovingly, gently, firmly, with measure, without resorting to threatening! Carefully choose your battles for your child’s good and your own ability to enforce your rules. Too many rules will be too hard to enforce and most certainly frustrating to the child. Do not provoke your child to wrath lest they be discouraged. If your discipline takes the spirit out of your child so they don’t care anymore, have you succeeded or failed in your aim?

  • Jer. 10:24-25—O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. 25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.

Angry parents do not generate respect; they generate anger and rebellion in their children. A raised voice is only effective for a limited time. If a child always hears shouting, he becomes impervious to it, and it is no longer effective. Also, if children only hear shouting, they lose the desire to please.

Should every misdemeanor receive the same punishment? No.  Intentional wrong or deliberate disobedience should receive the strongest punishment. Accidental or ignorant wrong (even if the child “should have known better,” should receive lesser punishment.

  • Luke 12:47-48And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
  • John 19:10-11Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no powerat all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
  • Matt 23:14Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Hard punishment may be administered for mistreatment of others, or correction for ignoring someone else’s need: Why? Our aim in training is to instill the fear of the Lord in our child, and teach him God’s judgments. His training is not for our convenience or for this world! It is to teach spiritual concepts. Hard punishment should be reserved for things like lying or stealing, once clear instruction is given.

  • Pro. 19:17—He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
  • Pro. 22:22-23—Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: 23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
  • Pro. 28:27—He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
  • Pro. 29:7—The righteous considereth the cause of the poor:but the wicked regardeth not to know it.
  • Pro. 21:13—Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
  • Isa. 10:1-3—Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; 2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! 3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?

What is the AIM of discipline?

Short term, discipline is meant to teach humility and obedience to authority, and is good for a child’s life (1 Tim. 3:4-5; Rom. 13:1-2; Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:201 Cor. 11:32 Cor. 10:8).

  • Isa. 10:20—And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
  • Ahab humbled himself (to an extent) and returned, and the Lord rewarded him even for partial obedience (1 Kings 21:27-29), to encourage him to do more! We want to give our children courage to try to please us by appreciating whatever we can about them and their (occasionally pitiful) efforts.
  • The nation of Israel obeyed God feignedly, and even though He knew it, he rewarded those surface efforts (Jer. 3:10).
  • The opposite of humility is a stiff neck and proud heart (Zech. 7:11-12; Jer. 7:25-28; Jer. 17:23; Deut. 31:27; Psa. 101:5).
  • Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23) – but do we elicit rebellion by harshness or unreasonableness?

Long term, discipline is for the salvation of our child’s soul.

Threatening:

  • Eph. 6:9—And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

G547 ἀπειλή apeilē ap-i-lay’ From G546; a menace, To make a show of intention to harm – faces, body posture, etc.

Does shouting, screaming, slapping, glaring or threatening show good will or love?

Pay attention to your child; know what is going on, and what he needs; however, I am not talking about being hovering helicopter parents. Let him do age-appropriate things for himself even if he makes mistakes.

  • Heb. 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
  • Pro. 27:23-27Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks,and look well to thy herds. 24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? 25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. 26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. 27 And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
  • Pro. 29:15—The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child leftto himself bringeth his mother to shame.

The REWARDS:

  • Pro. 29:17Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Pay attention to your child – to know what is going on, and what he/she needs.

  • Heb. 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
  • Pro. 27:23-27Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. 24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? 25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. 26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. 27 And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
  • Pro. 29:15The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
  • Pro. 29:17Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

 

Bitterness may grow in the hearts of children who are disciplined harshly.

Are we mothers being prudent in our dealings with our children?

Will our children be unmoored because of their rebellion against harsh parenting?

What will be our children’s heritage?

Please share your thoughts.

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