Tag Archives: disciplining children

Be The Parent

2 Samuel 13-14

David gave Absalom “time out.” isn’t that what we call the discipline parents give their children these days? A kid does something wrong so Mom and Dad tell her to get in the corner. If the child is three, time out is three minutes. Four minutes for a four-year-old. And, for most parents, that’s the extent of any discipline in their home.

So David gave Absalom time out, and it appears that was the extent of any discipline in that home, too. The problem is, Absalom was an adult and the wrong thing he did was murder.

Yes, Amnon had raped Absalom’s sister. Absalom had planned revenge for years, waiting for the right moment to end Amnon.

Amnon had deserved to be punished for violating Tamar, but not even David the King bothered with any form of discipline. Even though Amnon was his own son, and Tamar was his daughter.

Come on, Dad. Be the parent!

David’s refusal to discipline Amnon lead to his death and to David’s conflict with Absalom.

Come on, parents! You need only to turn on your TV to see the result of an undisciplined generation. These young people are products of the parenting phylosophy of :

Don’t let your children see you angry.
Don’t spank.
Don’t make your child feel guilty or bad about themselves.
Talk your child out of his bad behavior.
Give them time out.

If you have young children in your home you have got to get a grip. You have got to be the adult. You have got to teach your children what is expected of them, not expect them to figure it out. You have got to understand and help your child understand he has NO RIGHTS he hasn’t earned.

You’ve got to teach your children that their disobedience DOES anger you, that there is swift and sometimes painful consequences for disobedience, that insolence and manipulation will not be tolerated by you, and that you love them enough to teach them the hard lessons.

I have said it before, and I’ll continue to say that if you don’t teach your children the difference between right and wrong, that there are serious consequences for disobedience, that disobedience angers and disappoints you, and that if they confess and repent you’ll forgive them…

you aren’t preparing them to see their need of a Savior or accept the forgiveness Jesus offers sinners who confess and repent of sin.

David’s refusal to parent caused awful things to happen. It lead to death.

Your refusal to parent can and will do the same. And the death your child will experience might be eternal.

Be the parent.

Should I Spank My Kid?

Proverbs 29

Solomon offers wisdom to parents. But it seems the so called wisdom of our present society drowns out the old king’s advice. What do you think?

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad. (vs 17)

I think most parents would say they discipline their children. But many are careful not to show anger at a child’s disobedience. They are told by “experts” to calmly explain to their children as young as two years old what they expect and why that child’s behavior was wrong. They may give a time out for a few minutes. But that’s as far as their discipline goes.

Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded. (vs 19)

If Solomon knew that about adults, why would we think our children understand our words any better? They don’t!

A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel. (vs 21)

Give your kid whatever he wants, do whatever your kid demands, and believe you are raising a hard working, kind, and caring human. You aren’t.

To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet. (vs5)

Tell your daughters how beautiful and powerful they are. Tell your sons how strong and smart they are. These days we call that empowerment, instilling confidence and self-worth. Solomon calls it a trap at the feet of our children.

To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child. (vs 15)

Mom, Dad, let your child throw a tantrum at the store, run amok at your neighbor’s house, speak disrespectfully to you or another adult. People might label your child as a brat, and not want their kids around her. But they will label you a bad parent, or a fool. Your child’s unruly behavior is your disgrace.

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. (13:24)

Those are strong words. And I know what some of you are thinking. You think that just leads to abuse. Friend, God would not have it in His Word if that were the case. He loves your children more than you do.

So the answer to the question, “should I spank my child” is found in Scripture. Don’t take my word for it. Here are some more verses that speak to the issue of discipline. Find out for yourself:

Proverbs 23:13-14; Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 29:15; Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:11; Hebrews 12:9-11

Now I feel I need to put in a disclaimer. If you think this post gives anyone permission to abuse their children in the name of discipline, or to beat their children with a 2X4 you are reading too much into it, and I think you know that. A swat on the bottom of a three year old isn’t abuse. Smacking the hand of a child who strikes out at you doesn’t lead to raising a violent child. Showing anger at disobedience, raising your voice, taking away toys, or sending a child to bed early is not unloving. In fact, Scripture tells us it’s part of loving your child, and wanting the best for them.

Don’t take my word for it. Read your Bible and ask God what He wants you to know about raising your child to know and love Him, and to live a life that honors Him. That is your goal for your child, isn’t it?

February 9; My Bad

Exodus 22-24

The reading of the law might not be the most exciting narrative in Scripture. In fact, it’s tempting to skim through and think, “This doesn’t apply to me since I live after the cross.” But I believe every verse in the Bible is God-breathed with a purpose.

If you have spent much time with young children, I imagine you’ve cleaned up your share of spilled milk. I also imagine you’ve looked into wide eyes and heard, “I didn’t mean to.” And 99% of the time that would be the case. Spilled milk is an accident.

Are there consequences for accidents? There should be, according to what God told Moses. When a Jew was negligent, or unintentionally did something that resulted in a loss for someone else, there was a guilty verdict and restitution followed. There was never a slap on the wrist or a “Be careful next time,” from the judge. A penalty had to be paid.

Now, the consequence for an accidental crime wasn’t as severe as that for an intentional one, of course. But if your ox died while in my care, I was guilty of killing your ox whether it tumble down a hill and broke its neck, or I slit its throat.

For years, decades really, I have been concerned about what children are taught about rule-breaking. Let’s call it what it is: I’m concerned about what children are taught about sin. I’m afraid we are reaping what we have sown.

Many of the young adults in our world today have never been held accountable for wrong-doing. Parents don’t paddle. They don’t even show anger if their child does something wrong. Heaven forbid we raise our voices. What has three decades of this kind of child-rearing produced? I’m afraid we are looking at thirty year old toddlers.

But I’m going to tell you something. God makes it clear He never turns a blind eye to sin. He never winks, then sends us on our merry way. Sin makes God angry.

No, sin makes God furious. Including the adorable little temper-tantrum your child pitches in the grocery, or that lie you told your boss when you were late yesterday.

Often God’s discipline is swift and painful. The ultimate consequence is eternity without Him. But every sin will be accounted for. Every. Sin.

Next time you are tempted to brush off sin with a “My bad,” stop and think. Would you look into the eyes of God and say that? Would you want your child to?

Parents, paddle your children. If a child is old enough to drink milk from a cup, he’s old enough to help clean up the mess he made when he knocked it over. Let your child know disobedience angers you. Raise your voice. Why would you want your kid to feel good about himself when he has sinned?


It’s your responsibility to demonstrate in your home what I hope you want your child to do later on. That is to recognize sin. To be ashamed of sinning. To recognize the devastating consequences for sin. To understand that sin makes you (and God) very angry. Then to experience what  it means to be forgiven when they come to you and ask for it.

Raise your children to be accountable for their actions, accidental or intentional. Raise them to want to do what is right for fear of consequences, for fear of your wrath, for fear of the awful feeling that comes when they are guilty of something. Don’t raise your children to say, “I’m sorry,” so they can get out of consequences. But raise them to ask for forgiveness because they are truly ashamed of what they did, and want you to forgive them, to restore a broken relationship between you and them.

Raise your children to be ready to go to their Heavenly Father, and receive all that Jesus died to give them.

June 20 – Parenting 101

Ecclesiastes 7-12

Just reading over these chapters doesn’t do justice to the wisdom here. I find the book of Ecclesiastes to be one I need to read slowly, and take time to digest it all. I don’t have the time, or even the desire, to dissect every verse on this blog. But I would like to share one verse that God used to get my attention today.

Since yesterday was Father’s Day, I guess I am still thinking about parents and parenting. Here is God’s advice for parents, given through Solomon in 8:11:

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to evil.

1) Don’t do that. 2) I told you not to do that. 3) How many times do I have to tell you to stop? 4) If you do that again, I’m going to spank you. 5) Do you want a spanking? 6) Did you hear me? 7) I’m tired of telling you to stop. 8) Stop!

Sound familiar? Your child willfully disobeys you. Not once, eight times in this example. And what you’ve taught your child is that they can break your rules eight times before they have to obey. Sometime your child learns they never have to obey because your threats are meaningless.

WHAT YOU ALLOW, YOU TEACH. Not only does the guilty child learn that lesson, so does everyone within hearing distance.

Look at the crime rate here in the US compared to countries that hand down swift and harsh punishment for breaking the law. What you allow, you teach.

Parents, it is your responsibility to raise children who are not “given fully to evil,”  as Solomon says. How you discipline your child for disobedience makes all the difference in the world.

And it’s a lesson your child just might take into eternity. It’s that important.


June 9 – WHACK!

Proverbs 19-21

When I was in junior high (about a hundred years ago, I think) it was not uncommon to be sitting in the classroom and hear the door open just a crack. We could hear one door after another all the way down the hall open in the same way. We’d all sit up a little straighter, eyes wide open, and no one, not even the teacher most of the time, would speak.

Then we would hear that dreaded, WHACK. Sometimes we would even hear it again, WHACK! Often we’d hear a teacher scolding the guilty student in such a way there could be no mistake. A rule had been broken, and this is what happens when rules are broken.

Solomon says: When a scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise… (21:11) You can bet more than one student learned an important lesson from those paddlings back in junior high. I know I did. I never wanted the student in the hall to be me! I became a rule-follower. It seemed the wise thing to do.

Those days are long gone because someone was more concerned about the guilty child’s ego. I find myself wanting to get up on my soapbox. Especially in light of the recent convicted rapist, Brock Turner’s light sentence, the unbelievable statement he read at sentencing, and his own father’s statement after the fact.

Let’s make it personal. Parents, do your children know the rules of your home? Are the rules enforced consistently? Are the consequences swift and painful? Hear me when I say if we don’t teach them this truth on a small scale, they won’t understand it on a larger scale. And they’ll grow up to think the consequences for breaking God’s rules are no big deal, either.

I shudder to think about the lesson other young people have learned from the judge’s decision in the Turner case. Because lessons have been learned. The doors of the classroom were opened, and instead of hearing the WHACK, they heard the teacher pat the guilty child on the back and send him on his way.


The way you discipline your children, the way our society disciplines law-breakers, is done in a classroom occupied by others. When the guilty are punished, the naive become wise. That’s what Solomon said through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I pray that we are raising wise children instead of children who will remain naive. Just the other day we learned that naivety is a death sentence.

It’s that serious.