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The Forgotten Part of Discipline
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Libby Offline
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The Forgotten Part of Discipline
While reading the exchange between Sarah and Rosie today, (there are some very sweet teens on this forum), I was reminded of this article and thought others might enjoy it as well.

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While playing in our family room, my oldest son made a decision he knew was not good. He looked at his grandfather, sitting soberly on the sofa, and then at me.

The two of them sat in silence, waiting to see what I would do. My son did not want to be disciplined and my father-in-law did not want him to be disciplined. However, his sin was clear and I chose to follow through and discipline him.

I took him upstairs to spend this time with him in private, leaving my father-in-law in the family room. We were gone about 10 minutes. Upon our return to the family room, my father-in-law made a profound observation: “Rob, how come they always go up crying and come down happy?”

The answer to that question requires an understanding of what I call the “forgotten part of discipline.”

What we forget
As parents who desire to raise our children to love and honor God, most of us know what the Scriptures say about the physical part of discipline. Though spanking has become a controversial form of discipline in today’s culture, God’s Word is clear. Proverbs 22:15, for example, tells us, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” And Proverbs 23:13-14 says, “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol.”

We know this is part of the calling God has given us. So, as our children sin or rebel, we remember these clear teachings and we discipline our children. The problem comes when we equate spanking with discipline. Biblical discipline involves much more than spanking.

We often forget the context in which the physical part of discipline is supposed to exist. It is intangible and easy to overlook. Consider these proverbs:

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

God uses our words that accompany the spanking to restore our children. They are to be sweet. They are to bring health. They are to restore a joyful heart to our children.

We too easily forget to communicate this type of love to our children during discipline. The rod of discipline applied without love is nothing but a beating. Instead, the biblical process of disciplining a child is designed to drive folly out of the heart. This connection between the pain felt in discipline and the removal of folly is not scientific–it is spiritual. We must remember we are dealing with our children’s hearts and spirits here, not just their backsides.

How can a child go up the stairs crying and come bounding down with joy? He cries because he knows what he is going to receive will be unpleasant. He returns with joy because what he has received has been loving.

The goal of discipline
Have you ever considered what you want to accomplish by disciplining a child? Typically a parent wants to train his children to obey him. Or a parent wants to avoid being embarrassed in a store, in a restaurant or in church. He wants respect from his children. These are fine desires, but they are secondary goals. However, we need to consider a deeper, clearer primary goal for discipline.

When my child requires discipline, I have this goal in mind: to see this as a God-ordained opportunity to walk my children to the Good News that saves mankind.

Just this past week, I finished reading a book to my children about a boy who falls in love with Jesus. He wrote his father, an activist atheist, about his conversion. Among his words were these, “Father, I have good news. Are you a sinner? I hope you are because Jesus came to save sinners.”

Our children are sinners. So are we. But just like the boy above, the very truth that saddens the heart can make the spirit glad. Yes, we are sinners but “Jesus came to save sinners.” Hidden within this truth is a great opportunity for hope in discipline.

Often, a parent’s tone and facial expressions convey a hopelessness to children during discipline. They act as if there is no real hope of them ever getting it right. But in light of the reality and purpose of the cross, this is nonsense. In Christ, your children can die to their sin and live in righteousness. (1 Peter 2:24) In Christ, they need not be slaves to their sin any longer. (Romans 6:17-18) In Christ, the reality of the cross can come to life in their lives. This is profound. This is incredible. This is the gospel.

Remember the words of Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Following the discomfort of discipline, how sweet it would be to the souls of your children to receive words of grace that walk them to the hope of the gospel. These words will bring health to their body, to your relationship with them and to their relationship with God.

Don’t be guilty of forgetting the “forgotten” part of discipline. Use words of restoration and grace every time, and watch God bless with fruit in your children’s lives.

How we do it
When this perspective is new to people, they often want to know what it looks like in action. They also want to know if it really works. Let me walk you through what this looks like in my family. Yours may look somewhat different, but you’ll see the elements that are necessary.

1. We find a private place. When my children sin or disobey, it is necessary for me to bring about discipline. The best way to do this is in private. This allows them to maintain dignity and prevents them from feeling humiliated in front of others. (The only time we go against this principle is when the children are very young. With a child younger than 2½ to 3 years old, we often will bring the discipline as close to the action as possible.) To do this, we ask our children to go to a secluded place, most likely their bedroom.

2. We confirm the reason for the discipline. Once upstairs, I ask them if they know why they are being disciplined. This is important—if a child receives discipline but is not sure why, the entire purpose is lost. If they are unaware of why, then I help them understand, but usually, even with the little ones, they already know exactly what happened.

3. We apply the rod. In order to keep this portion of discipline within biblical guidelines, we must consider a few key ingredients.

First, we must choose the item to use. Different parents use different items as their “rod” of discipline. There is no “right” item. We make sure that the item will have the desired effect while doing no damage to the child.

Second, the place on their bodies is key. We always strike a very meaty part of their bodies—predominantly their backsides. When they are wearing heavier clothing like blue jeans, we may strike the back of a thigh, also a very meaty part. By restricting the spank to a meaty part, there is no lasting effect…just the sting.

Third is the amount of discipline. The number of swats they receive relates in part to the seriousness of the sin. I don’t mean the seriousness of the action. Throwing food at the table is disobedient. So too is a defiant “NO!” The root sin is disobedience and the number of swats is the same for both. Now, punching a brother in the eye receives more because of the increased danger they posed to the family. That is more serious.

4. We comfort them in their discomfort. When we are done with the spanking, they are generally uncomfortable. I often rub the part that was swatted and I always embrace them. God comforts us in our affliction and so we ought to do the same for our children. This is often a silent time (except for the crying). I don’t want to be preached at when I am hurting so we don’t do that to our children.

5. We instruct. Before the spanking, their hearts were hard and their minds were preoccupied. Now, after the spanking, they are more pliable and able to listen. This is where we attempt to restore them with our words. We try to build love and acceptance into them.

6. We pray for them. We always thank God for them and ask Him to help them by the power of His Spirit in the area of their sin. We try as best we can to avoid the temptation to preach to them through our praying.

7. We have them pray. They not only sinned against us (or a sibling), but they also sinned against God. So, when they pray, they acknowledge their sin before God and ask His forgiveness and His help in the future.

8. We love them. Before letting them go, we hug them. We tell them that we love them again. Sometimes we’ll pinch a child’s nose, tweak a cheek, or tickle his belly. We always try to do something that reminds them that everything is okay and that their sin has been separated from them.

9. We have them seek out the people involved. This final step is seeking out the forgiveness of those they’ve sinned against. This almost invariably starts with us, since it was our authority they rebelled against. This should not be a quick heartless, “I’m sorry.” That is not seeking forgiveness. It can vary, but it must always include a question like, “Will you forgive me for … ?”

Discipline can look different in every family. However, I hope this look at how it is done in our family has been helpful to you as you envision how you might carry out the forgotten part of discipline with your children.

In the end, the “how-to” is not nearly as important as the environment of love you create for your children. Take some time and evaluate your heart as you consider discipline in your family. Correct anything you find that fails to rescue them from their sin and restore them to a right relationship with you and with God.

https://d1ueb8h0efn28g.cloudfront.net/ar...iscipline/

Heart Proud mum of four wonderful blessings: Noah 16, Tatiana 14, Clare 10, Zachary 8

https://what-do-you-say.proboards.com/

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11-20-2020 09:07 PM
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Garth Offline
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RE: The Forgotten Part of Discipline
Thank you for you post Libby.

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11-20-2020 10:21 PM
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Rosie Offline
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RE: The Forgotten Part of Discipline
My mom and dad don't pray about spanking and I would like to keep God right out of it but I like what she said about comfort in discomfort and maybe that is what it is all about when a kid wants to be close to the parent after and make it feel like things are good again right? I don't like the part about rubbing cause if my mom or dad was to rub my butt that would freak me out I think. What I like is it makes it so it should be understood that spanking isn't about being angry right?

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11-21-2020 10:28 AM
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Addy Offline
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RE: The Forgotten Part of Discipline
Pre-covid my "aunt" went to a lot of Christian parenting talks and this sounds familiar.
It seems to me that these Christian teachers mainly talk about spanking the young child, not a teen. I wonder if the Bible actually supports spanking teens?
Teens used to get married in Biblical times so we weren't seen as kids. Mary was 14 when she had Jesus. My age. That is so crazy.
Anyhow, spanking is never this calm here. Is it actually that calm in some families?

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11-21-2020 04:02 PM
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Scarlette Offline
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RE: The Forgotten Part of Discipline
I think most families stop spanking when their kids become teens......it's hard or impossible to find any "instruction" that supports teen spanking. I would like to see what the "experts" child development or spiritual say about it. It obviously happens so why is it so hush hush?

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11-21-2020 06:00 PM
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Nancy Offline
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RE: The Forgotten Part of Discipline
Scarlette, that's actually really easy. The "experts" don't think anyone should ever be spanked. It's a relatively recent trend in child raising that started in the 60s. Frankly, it's one of those things where the researchers form their conclusion and then look for evidence to support it.

I saw one study where the "expert" concluded that since MOST prisoners were spanked as children spanking is bad. I remember thinking that ALL prisoners have spoken to a psychologist. It was correlation and not cause and effect as in most of these studies.

The reason it's so hush hush is that the anti spanking lobby is small, loud and in control. They can't distinguish between a spanking and a savage beating so they lump them together and anyone that opposes them either "doesn't understand" or is abusive. They can't even consider that they might be wrong. Actually, that sounds pretty common in a lot of areas besides this one.

By the way, in theory, bees can't fly.

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11-22-2020 01:49 AM
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Garth Offline
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RE: The Forgotten Part of Discipline
There have been studies linking spanking with psychological problems such as anxiety and depression, addiction and criminal behaviour. Of course the vast majority of children who are spanked grow up to be normal law abiding adults. The proof is always in the pudding! Spanking if done in a loving and caring way I am convinced through my own experience is not only helpful to children but can improve the parent child relationship. If you however don’t believe this to be true I would suggest you not spank as your ambivalence will only confuse your child.

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11-22-2020 09:29 AM
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Scarlette Offline
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RE: The Forgotten Part of Discipline
(11-22-2020 01:49 AM)Nancy Wrote:  Scarlette, that's actually really easy. The "experts" don't think anyone should ever be spanked. It's a relatively recent trend in child raising that started in the 60s. Frankly, it's one of those things where the researchers form their conclusion and then look for evidence to support it.

I saw one study where the "expert" concluded that since MOST prisoners were spanked as children spanking is bad. I remember thinking that ALL prisoners have spoken to a psychologist. It was correlation and not cause and effect as in most of these studies.

The reason it's so hush hush is that the anti spanking lobby is small, loud and in control. They can't distinguish between a spanking and a savage beating so they lump them together and anyone that opposes them either "doesn't understand" or is abusive. They can't even consider that they might be wrong. Actually, that sounds pretty common in a lot of areas besides this one.

By the way, in theory, bees can't fly.

My stepfather has said many times that the problem with the conclusion is they reached it before gathering all the information and you can prove anything that way.
I do get it. How common do you think the spanking of teens is?
11-22-2020 11:29 AM
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Nancy Offline
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RE: The Forgotten Part of Discipline
That's almost impossible to answer. I'm sure that many parents would shyly say they spank their preteens, but it's a huge risk to say you spank a teen.

Here, nobody and I mean nobody ever talks about spanking because of fear of the thought police. That's why both Amy and I got online accounts so we could have rational discussions about it without having to look over our shoulders.

I think you can take some comfort in the number of teens here. It may be a small group but I think it represents a much larger group that isn't here. They say in business that one complaint represents about ten people but one compliment represents over a hundred. People find it easier to complain than compliment.

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11-22-2020 07:57 PM
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Libby Offline
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RE: The Forgotten Part of Discipline
I know my brothers and sisters spank in the teen years as do my husband's rellies. It isn't something we announce simply because it would be embarrassing to the involved teens and embarrassment is never our goal. Scarlette, do you have cousins your age? Are they smacked?

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11-22-2020 09:35 PM
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