Due to many factors, many parents cannot find a healthy balance when it comes to discipline. Scripture teaches that we cannot neglect that responsibility but must handle it with care.
On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense (Proverbs 10:13).
The Parent Pendulum
Most parents tend to be either too harsh or too lenient in disciplining their children.
The Danger on Either Side
- Scripture warns about being too harsh with children (Eph. 6:4).
- Hostile homes typically produce hostile children.
- While there are dangers of being too harsh, being too lenient can be just as dangerous.
- If your children get away with everything, they will go through life thinking that the rules don’t apply to them.
The Influences Around Us
- Parents – repeat or reject? Many people discipline their children as a response to how their parents disciplined them.
- Culture – conform or condemn? Our culture ever-increasingly displays greater animosity towards any type of parental authority or discipline.
- Experiences – withdraw or withstand? Witnessing how other parents treat their children will encourage us to withdraw our convictions or withstand our principles.
- Peers – emulate or endanger? If you allow your children to pressure you into emulating their friends’ carefree parents, you will ultimately endanger your children.
Don’t be so turned off by one negative form of parenting that you overcompensate and commit a different type of damage to your children.
The Parent Progression
If you fail to realize the change in responsibilities during your stages of parenting, you will become exhausted, and your children will become resentful.
- Preschoolers need parents to serve as commanders.
- At this stage, these children need to know rules, authorities, and consequences clearly and repeatedly.
- Children need parents to serve as coaches.
- Instead of just delivering commands, you now begin to serve on the sidelines celebrating successes and coaching through setbacks.
- Students need parents to serve as counselors.
- In addition to providing the rules, you must begin to engage with their emotions and explain more why you do what you do.
- Collegiates need parents to serve as consultants.
- Parents are meant to lead their children to independence, so parents should intentionally provide space so a college-aged child can actually ask for help.
- Adult children need parents to serve as colleagues.
- If you still treat your child as a child, he or she will inevitably push back from you.
The Parent Perspective
- What stages are your children in currently?
- What are the greatest needs in their lives?
- How do you think you can best help them?