Posts Tagged ‘children’

Discipline Matters


Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1


The emphasis in parenting in this era is to reward the positive.  It is implied that a parent who enforces a negative rule (“You may not…”) is hurting the child’s self-esteem by correcting “bad” behavior; the best way to change bad behavior is to reward good behavior because punishment will bring worse behavior.

In order to get positive change, we need positive reinforcements of acceptable behavior.

Even with my grandchildren, positive encouragement when they obey or play nicely with their siblings is something that we practice. However, as I look seriously at scripture, this is not God’s emphasis. Discipline is something He practices and He commands us to practice it with our children.

For many today “discipline” seems like a dirty word. It is not – discipling is discipline.  Biblically thinking, discipline is necessary to teach and train a child to obey his/her parents and live a life pleasing to God.  The Bible is clear that obedience brings blessing.

Has this decline in discipline been a part of the increase in the sexual sin that has crept into our culture? Many men are being accused, and many are confessing the truth in the accusations.

What has happened in our nation that we have gone, in my lifetime, from men showing great respect for women, even in their choice of words in our presence, to the freedom they feel to sexually assault or verbally suggest sexual misconduct?

Has the impact of “positive reinforcement” caused us to allow bad behavior so we, as a nation, are reaping what we have sown as we abandoned the Bible and listened to child psychologists who are the “professionals,” after all?

Or, did women bring it on themselves by feminist rants about wanting to be treated like men?

God created us. Whether people are believers or not, God has given us the plan for His creation that, when we follow it, works to bring about the most benefit for all.

Many of His laws are “negative.”  “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” “You shall not steal.” “You shall not lie.” “You shall not commit adultery.” When people disobey these laws, they hurt others. The negative aspect of the Law protects innocent people from law breakers.

Mothers and fathers, if we rear our children rewarding them because they do not lie or steal, but not punishing them when they do (and they will), we send them a message that says that they are all that matters. When they hurt others, if there are no consequences, there will be no change.

It’s true that positive reinforcement will reinforce positive behavior. But, it is also true that not disciplining negative behavior hurts a child as they grow to understand that their misbehavior is allowed, and that the feelings and safety of other people are not as important as their self-esteem.

When we discipline our own sons and daughters, God has given a very positive promise of reward. You can find it in Proverbs 29:17, Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. What parent does not want to be delighted by the children entrusted to their care?

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