UNDENIABLY, parenting is hard work. But holding back discipline when it is warranted makes the task even harder. Why? Because without discipline (1) children continue to be unruly, which exhausts the parents, and (2) parents give inconsistent direction, which confuses the children.
On the other hand, loving, balanced discipline can train a child’s thinking and shape his moral character. It also helps children feel secure as they grow to responsible adulthood. But where can you find reliable guidance for disciplining your children?
The Value of Bible Principles
The publishers of this magazine, Jehovah’s Witnesses, believe that the Bible is, as it claims to be, “beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for disciplining.” (2 Timothy 3:16, footnote) The Bible is far more than a mere parenting manual; its principles provide realistic guidance for families. Consider some examples.
THE BIBLE SAYS: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.”
Although children can be delightfully thoughtful and kind, they are also inclined to do foolish things. Therefore, children need discipline. (Proverbs 13:24) Acknowledging that fact will help you fulfill your responsibility as a parent.
THE BIBLE SAYS: “Do not hold back discipline from a child.”
You need not fear that balanced discipline will damage your children or cause them to resent you later in life. When lovingly administered, discipline will help your children learn to accept correction humbly
THE BIBLE SAYS: “Whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap.”
Parents naturally want to protect their children, and rightly so. Again, however, balance is needed. You do your children no favors by “rescuing” them from the consequences of their errors or by defending them when a teacher or another adult brings real misconduct to your attention. Instead, view those people as your allies. In so doing, you teach your child to respect authority
THE BIBLE SAYS: “A child left unrestrained brings shame on his mother.”
Be loving, consistent, and reasonable
While parents should never be abusive, they also need to avoid the other extreme
THE BIBLE SAYS: “A man will . . . stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.”
According to the Bible, a man and woman should be married before children are conceived and should still be together after the children are grown and gone. (Matthew 19:5, 6) In that sense, you are a spouse first
Help for Parents
For you to accomplish your goal as a parent, your discipline should adhere to these principles.
Be loving. “Do not be provoking your children, so that they do not become downhearted.”
Be consistent. “Let your word ‘Yes’ mean yes, your ‘No,’ no.”
Jehovah, the happy God, wants families to be happy. Discover the Bible’s practical advice for husbands, wives, parents, and children.