Biblical Discipline and Punishment by Greg Williams
Biblical Discipline is actually the boundaries, guidelines and foundations that you establish or build your marriage, family, parenting (all relationships for that matter) on…Wisdom, Virtue, Purity, Integrity, Patience, Self-control and many more all based on the foundation of God’s Word – Absolute Truth. In line with these Biblical values, parental discipline is actually discipleship or training your child(ren) in righteousness according to God’s Word.
Biblical Punishment is what occurs when we fail to stay ‘inside’, or intentionally move ‘outside’ the disciplines that have been established in order to guide someone back within those truths in which they can most fully and freely grow…Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 3:12, 22:6; Malachi 2:13-16; Eph. 6:1-4; Hebrews 12:4-15
Keys to Biblical (and Healthy) Discipline and Punishment:
- Discipline and Punishment are both part of God’s Truth and Love toward us. His Word (see texts above) must be the source in establishing Discipline and administering Punishment
- Discipline modeled first in our lives before applied in others – lessons caught more than taught
- Clear and Consistent – Both Discipline and Punishment must be clearly communicated and consistently applied in your life and in parenting
- 3 guidelines for Punishment…A) Disrespect – ignorant or initial willfulness; B) Defiance – clear, continued disrespect toward your authority and; C) Danger – avoid harm, teach lessons and protect
- Never Punish in anger or from Pride – be sure to check your own motives and selfishness whenever applying punishment with your children – very difficult in tense and embarrassing moments – Patience is a great thing in these situations…always apply in grace and Love and in line with God’s Word and Truth principles.
- Punishment and Reward – Punishment fits the crime; give opportunities to reward for good behavior and heart as well as for good response to punishment (train the heart). Be sure to connect both punishment and reward with character rather than just accomplishment or performance.
- Involve your children – allow them to be a part of establishing foundations and guidelines based on God’s Word as you craft and communicate with and to them. Allow them to administer their own punishment to the extent that they understand the root (heart) issues and can apply it justly. You keep final say!
- The Do-Over
Everybody deserves a second chance, right? If your child has shown a lack of respect in some way, give them the option of a “do-over.” Send them out of the room, and have them start all over again. It gives them practice in treating others well.
- Silence is Golden
Sometimes it is hurtful words or it could be a loudness that disturbs the peace. Taking away the privilege to talk for a certain amount of time will calm them down and give them time to think.
- Choose Your Battles
Every single issue does not need to be a war. [Tweet This] If you are constantly at odds with your child, they will eventually tune you out. Whether it is an outfit you don’t like, coming in a couple minutes after curfew, or other things small, it may be best to let it pass. Choose wisely which issues are important enough to tackle.
- Take a Breather
Sometimes we all need a “breather.” When voices start to get raised, continuing on that path will only worsen the matter. Send them to their room and create a cooling off period. Then approach them when everyone has calmed down, particularly you.
- Use the Rod Rarely
“Spare the rod, spoil the child.” We all know this ancient wisdom, but it must be used with caution. Don’t do it in anger. It can be tough at times, but always keep your composure. If need be, take a walk before engaging. Have them sit on their bed and wait. Sometimes the waiting is worse than the actual spanking.
- Natural Consequences
There is a school project your child has known about for 2 weeks. It is the night before it is due and she is in a panic. You warned her a week ago not to wait until the last moment, but it happened anyway. She is now pleading for you to assist her. Do not help her and let her experience the result of her actions. The anxiety, loss of sleep, and bad grade will teach her to make better decisions next time.
- The Take Away
Every child has something near and dear to them. It is not underhanded for that item to come into play, if needed. Favorite stuffed animals, cell phones, gaming devices, etc. can all be used to your benefit. If your warnings have fallen on deaf ears, take an item away for a time and let your child once again learn that actions have consequences.
- Give Away for Good
For the most severe and perhaps repeat offenses, there is the giveaway. Take one of their favorite things and give it to Salvation Army or Good Will. Have them physically hand it over.
Teach them that when we cross set boundaries or break laws we lose freedoms. It may not be easy to tell your big, brown-eyed daughter she can’t go to the movies with her friends or to the school dance. Be strong and hold the line.
Become a student of your child and their world. Then use insight in guiding them before problems occur. Talk openly with your child on a daily basis. Reward the many great things they do. Support them with lots of love when they hit the mark and when they don’t. Building a high level of trust and understanding with your child will prevent a great deal of issues that would require a discipline tactic.
What are some ways you have disciplined (and punished) your kids? Italics and parentheses here mine and added.