Raising kids is a complex thing. Since our oldest child is three and a half, there are so many things we have yet to encounter in this child-rearing process. I’m no parenting expert. However, since we have three kids, there is a lot we have already learned. This post is designed to simply discuss one facet on the multi-dimensional topic of discipling children. I will intentionally leave the other facets alone for the sake of brevity and clarity.
There are two verses that come to my mind when either: 1) one of our children is having a melt-down, or 2) I am giving instructions to my kids that they must obey.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”
These verses tell me that I can’t just react when my kids disobey; I have to consider why they are disobeying. Practically, this means serving and loving my kids by creating something of a routine for them. If I am cranky or restless when I am tired and hungry, how much more so will my toddlers be? If it’s going to be nap-time in 30 minutes, I shouldn’t take my kids to Olive Garden and expect them to sit and eat without becoming cranky. I’d be provoking him. Is that kid screaming in Wal-Mart because he really is a brat, or because his mom took him shopping without considering how well he’d hold up?
Also, I must be wary of being like the lawyers that Jesus rebuked in the above verse. Am I expecting more out of my kids than I am out of myself? [I am all for high expectations, but not from lazy parents] I expect Malaki to be patient when he is frustrated, but how do I act towards the “idiot drivers” on the road?
In parenting, we try to consider the wisdom of Scripture, the grace of the Gospel, and plain old common sense. My advice is pray, pray, pray for your kids and ask God to show you how to raise them. We have a lot to learn.