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  Disciplining Children

“My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways.” Proverbs 23:26.

What is discipline?

 -Discipling to Christ to be changed
 -External motivation to give in and go against self
 -Aiding a decision for right by leading to a decision which brings rewards

Our Responsibility

Children want to know what's expected of them. If you expect them to sit still, instruct them. If you want them to raise their hand before speaking up in class, tell them. And be sure to imitate how you want them to conduct themselves. One of the worst things teachers and helpers can do is talk or whisper among themselves. If you want the children to listen quietly to the one up front, then you need to be the pattern.

. . . In Precept = telling what is right
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:6, 7.

. . . In Example = doing what you say (e.g. not whispering, if don't want children to whisper) “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12.

Tools for the Battle
Indwelling Christ. Only through Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith can true love flow to the offending child while disciplining them. (See Ephesians 3:17.) Only when we “are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit” (Romans 8:9) can we be victorious in the battle, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12.

“And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” John 17:19.

Prayer With the Child. Unaided by God, the child's surrender will be only outward and will not work a change of heart and life. Jesus invites us, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” Psalm 50:15. He stands eagerly waiting to send every angel from Heaven to deliver us and the children of our care from the ways of flesh—if we will but cry out for this help.

Satan's Weapons in the Battle

Sharp Words, Uncontrolled Spirit. Pupils in Bible class are likely to do that which will annoy the teacher, by their misconduct. But the teacher must not speak sharp words, and manifest an uncontrolled spirit; for in so doing he will not be using the sword of the Spirit, but the weapons of Satan.

Harsh Dealing. Harsh dealing will never help children see their errors, or aid them in reformation.

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Publishing Child's Errors, Open Rebuke. Do not feel that it is your work to openly rebuke the pupil, and thus humiliate him before the whole school. Never publish the errors of any pupil outside the circle in which they must be known; for, if this is done, sympathy will be created for the wrongdoer, by leaving an impression on the mind that he has been dealt with unjustly. By exposing the wrongdoer, he may be thrown upon Satan's battlefield, and from that moment go steadily downward. Christ bears long with us, and we must be Christlike. He does not cut us off because of our errors, but reproves in tenderness, and by love draws us close to Himself.

Bringing a Naughty Child to Surrender . . .
1st Step—My Surrender
1. Surrender to Christ. “Father into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” Luke 23:46.
2. Get directions from Christ. Be still, and let your heart ascend in prayer to God for help. “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” Acts 9:6. “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.” John 2:5. “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3.
3. We Need His power to attend our human efforts. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12. “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

Bringing a Naughty Child to Surrender . . .
2nd Step—Child's Surrender
1. Call to decision, to surrender
  a. Tell the child what they've done wrong (specifically and briefly). Example: “You may not cry.”
  b. Tell the child what to do instead. Example: “Choose to be happy.”
  c. Direct the child to help. Encourage them that through Christ they can obey and do right. They have a choice. "I love you too much to let you disobey."
  d. Call the child to a decision, to self-denial plus self-control. To obey they must strive to stop crying. Cooperation is essential. Encourage right choices for the expulsion of sin, is the act of the soul itself. The child must do battle with the “self” that strives to rule in him. He must choose to yield and say “no” to self and “yes” to the teacher, the parent or God. Remind him of the cost of sin and joy of obedience.
2. Observe the child's demeanor, countenance, disposition, and reaction. Make a judgment as to what to do next. If they are arguing and excusing self, they have chosen the wrong side and not surrendered. And remember, not to decide is to decide. Now again turn to the Lord and ask, “Lord, what would Thou have me to do?” Acts 9:6.
3. Reward the right. Give consequences for wrong. There is always a cost to sin and selfishness.
4. Motivate the child to choose the right if he has made the wrong choice. The Lord may direct you simply to prayer or to give the child time alone, physical consequence, etc.—something to give them encouragement and/or a motivation to choose the right. See also Proverbs 23:13-14, Hebrews 12:6-7, Proverbs 13:24, and Psalm 103:8-14. Ask God for guidance on this, study the scriptures for solutions. God will help you to know how to blend justice and mercy for the best interest of His child. (read the counsel of a Godly Christian mother from over a century ago below)
5. Repeat steps 1–4 again if child persists in choosing wrong.
6. Victory! When the child is surrendered, they will act out right instead of wrong. Make them aware of the happiness they now possess and give God the credit.

Principles to Remember in Discipline

Blending authority and affection.
Never act from impulse in governing children. Let authority and affection be blended. Cherish and cultivate all that is good and lovely and lead them to desire the higher good by revealing Christ to them. While you deny them those things that would be an injury to them, let them see that you love them and want to make them happy. The more unlovely they are, the greater pains you should take to reveal your love for them. When the child has confidence that you want to make him happy, love will break every barrier down. This is the principle of the Saviour's dealing with men.

Love and Duty. Love has a twin sister, which is duty. Love and duty stand side by side. Love exercised while duty is neglected will make children headstrong, willful, perverse, selfish, and disobedient. If stern duty is left to stand alone without love to soften and win, it will have a similar result. Duty and love must be blended in order that children may be properly disciplined.

Law of the mind. It is an important law of the mind—one which should not be overlooked—that when a desired object is so firmly denied as to remove all hope, the mind will soon cease to long for it, and will be occupied in other pursuits. But as long as there is any hope of gaining the desired object, an effort will be made to obtain it.

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Ecclesiastes 8:11.

Firmness. Great harm is done by a lack of firmness and decision. I have known parents to say, You cannot have this or that, and then relent, thinking they may be too strict, and give the child the very thing they at first refused. A lifelong injury is thus inflicted.

Consistency. Consistency and affection are to be enforced by a lovely and consistent example.

Consequences. Every choice in life is weighted with consequences. The Bible makes plain the ultimate consequence to sin—death. (See Romans 6:23.) When a child chooses to disobey, undesirable consequences help him realize that “the way of transgressors is hard” and “correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way.” Proverbs 13:15; 15:10. On the other hand, right doing allows us to enter into true joy. (See Matthew 25:23.)

Counsel and Example from a Godly Christian Mother
(written over a century ago)
"When the children will beg that they may go to this company or join that party of amusement, say to them: "I cannot let you go, children; sit right down here, and I will tell you why. I am doing up work for eternity and for God. God has given you to me and entrusted you to my care. I am standing in the place of God to you, my children; therefore I must watch you as one who must give an account in the day of God. Do you want your mother's name written in the books of heaven as one who failed to do her duty to her children, as one who let the enemy come in and preoccupy the ground that I ought to have occupied? Children, I am going to tell you which is the right way, and then if you choose to turn away from your mother and go into the paths of wickedness, your mother will stand clear, but you will have to suffer for your own sins."

This is the way I did with my children, and before I would get through, they would be weeping, and they would say, "Won't you pray for us?" Well, I never refused to pray for them. I knelt by their side and prayed with them. Then I have gone away and have pleaded with God until the sun was up in the heavens, the whole night long, that the spell of the enemy might be broken, and I have had the victory. Although it cost me a night's labor, yet I felt richly paid when my children would hang about my neck and say, "Oh, Mother, we are so glad that you did not let us go when we wanted to. Now we see that it would have been wrong."

Parents, this is the way you must work, as though you meant it. You must make a business of this work if you expect to save your children in the kingdom of God."

To read an entire article written by the same woman click here.

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