I love my kids. I treat them with respect. I pray for them. I encourage them. I sacrifice my time, dreams, and goals for them. And I discipline them.
For years I had a hard time relating discipline to love. When I disciplined my kids I felt like a big, bad bully rather than a loving, caring mother…until I understood God’s view of it. In the book of Jeremiah, God shares how He shows love to His People: He makes an everlasting covenant, He never stops doing good, and He inspires us to fear Him so that we won’t turn away. And today God still wants us to fear Him so we don’t turn away. Yet it seems this very idea of fear is something many Christians struggle with.
Yet, having a holy fear of God keeps us on the right track. Likewise, the loving thing to do is to teach our children this fear by giving them consequences for wrong actions. Without consequences our kids will not have an understanding of sin and if they don’t understand sin, they will have no need for salvation from God. If we ignore their offenses, they will assume God will to.
Knowing this, my husband and I have worked hard to develop a system for effective discipline in our home. A few things we insist on are:
1. First time obedience. No dawdling, no arguing, just obeying.
2. Firm consequences for disobedience. Make your children aware of consequences through consistently following through.
3. Presenting a unified front. Stand by each other’s decisions even if you don’t agree 100%.