The Right Time to Discipline

I remember the time when I was at a gathering and a three year old boy was large and in charge. As adults were trying to talk and enjoy the evening, this little guy talked out loud while the speaker was talking, ran all over the room getting into anything he could find and dominated the atmosphere. The parents would pick him up occasionally and try to hold him, but soon he would jump down and be off again to control the room. I didn’t look at that little boy and want to teach him a lesson…I wanted to teach the parents a lesson. By them allowing this child to do whatever, it not only made them look bad, but it brought chaos to those around him. It left us with the question of why are they doing their child an injustice by not disciplining him? Parents, let’s not have others look at us and wonder why. We were given the tremendous responsibility to raise these precious angels with love. This includes teaching them to behave at home and in public.

If you tell your child to clean their room now and a few minutes later you find them playing instead, you are at a crossroad.  At that moment you have a few choices to decide how to handle the situation.

  1. Get emotional and angry and say some choice words that heat up the room like an oven. You then storm out the door with, “This room better be cleaned or I will tell your father.” By doing this you have just taught your child to scream and fuss when things are not done AND that Mom doesn’t have the authority to discipline…making her a pushover.
  2. Simply state that since they did not obey you, they will be staying in their room the rest of the day while the neighbor kids are outside playing or whatever restriction you know will affect them. This works with some children, but only if the parent keeps their word and doesn’t change their mind with some begging and pleading from the child.
  3. Shrug your shoulders and say under your breath, “Whatever! If they want to live in a messy room, so be it. I don’t feel like dealing with this today.” By doing this you just proved that you really don’t care what they do and that house rules aren’t enforced at your house.
  4. If you have tried grounding, time outs and taking things away, but to no avail, then you look at them with love and tell them you have to spank them so they will understand the importance of obeying parents. No child likes to be spanked, but if done in love and not anger, we have proved with our own kids and grandkids that it works every time.

My dear parent, you will often come to the place where you have to decide how you will deal with your child that does not obey you. The answer to the question of WHEN to discipline is simple: whenever they misbehave or disobey in any way. If you are a Christian then you value the advice given us from HIS WORD. As we know, He has the answer to all situations. We just need to research and find what He would have us do.

“Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives. Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again.” Proverbs 19:18-19 NLT

“A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction.” Proverbs 13:1 NLT

Granted, different misbehaving requires different disciplinary action, but you will soon see what works best for your child. In creating a masterpiece, they cannot be left to do wrong without some kind of punishment. If left unpunished, one day they could control YOUR life and make parenting a miserable experience. My desire is to help you know how to enjoy parenting!

There are some children that are naturally well-behaved and require nothing but a stern reminder to do what’s right. Hats off to any parent blessed with this type of child. If you happen to have the high strung or very active child that manages to try your patience often, it will take a stronger course of action. The idea is to do whatever is required to create a masterpiece – no matter the personality of your children. They all have the right to be taught to be their best that’s pleasing to God.

Consistency is the key to proper discipline.

Anyone that knows me knows that I implore parents to be consistent with their kids. You will hear that a lot from me. When our kids were young and parents of their friends asked me why our children were so well behaved I simply told them that consistency is the key.

If your darling child thinks that there is even a SLIGHT chance that they will not get into trouble and be punished then guess what…they will take that chance every time. “Let’s see…Mom (or Dad) disciplined me last month when I disobeyed and didn’t do my chores, but last week I got by with just an angry look. So, here goes, I am going to bet that this time they are in a good mood and don’t say anything, so I will walk by the piled high trash and go play. It’s worth the chance. I want to go play my new game now.”

Parent, what a mistake we make when we allow our kids to think that they may be punished or may not be punished. This confuses them and worse than that, it would one day break your heart if they make the choice to not obey when it could mean life or death, a lifetime choice or a salvation issue.

A good parent will discipline their child when they feel like it or when they don’t. You correct your child with love because it is what is best for them, not just because they messed up your day and made you upset. This, my friend, is good parenting to the core.

For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life.” Proverbs 6:23 NLT

To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.  Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.” Proverbs 29:15, 17 NLT

I remember as a young kid in first grade that when my father told me to do something and I didn’t adhere to those words, I would be disciplined. There were no maybes in the scenario. My dad was a pastor and my mom was the pianist. I would have to sit in church on the second row while they were on the platform. I sat with my girlfriend and oh how we loved to talk. Yep, I was a typical kid. My dad told me never to have a conversation during church with my friends and I knew better, but the kid in me forgot and sometimes I would disobey.

One night in particular I was talking and laughing with my best friend, Candice, and Dad stopped in the middle of his message and told me to be quiet. Yes, it was embarrassing…even for a 6 year old! Believe you me, I shut my mouth for the rest of that sermon and was the first one to the altar that night. I felt that if I was good for the rest of the night that he’d surely forget. We had such a great move of God and I knew that put my dad in a good mood. I didn’t say a word on the way home and went straight to my room, jumped in my jammies, said my prayers and crawled into bed. Whew – I just knew I had survived the punishment. No longer had I closed my eyes when the door opened and Dad walked in.

I will never forget the sternness in his voice, but also the love I felt as he proceeded to remind me that I had disobeyed him by talking in the house of God during a reverent service. He looked at me with sad eyes and told me that he didn’t want to, but he would have to spank me to remind me of the seriousness of my actions. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. I knew this was not going to be fun. After spanking me, he held me in his arms and told me that he loved me and that it hurt him to have to discipline me.  You see, I felt love that night, not anger!

At the time I didn’t understand how it could possibly hurt him when I was the one getting disciplined, but later in life when I had to do the same to my kids, I totally understood. Discipline with love didn’t leave me with anger or disgust for my dad, but what I felt was remorse and repentance for my actions.

I assure you, parents, if you correct your child – even when you don’t feel like it and after the anger has lifted – it will leave an impression of love on them that will be remembered some 60 years later as it did for me.

“Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24 NLT

Be consistent in disciplining. It will be one of the best gifts you can ever give your child.

To Do: If you feel you have not been consistent with your children, now is a good time to start. Sit them down and apologize for not being consistent in disciplining and tell them that you commit to do so in the future. Tell them that it is because your love for them is great and you want to be the parent God expects you to be. Make a promise that they deserve, then tell them that you will not correct them while angry since you want to be certain it is done in love. Then, just do it!!

Suggested Family Time: If you have young kids, they will have fun building towers with most anything you can find in the house. We had a blast one night with our nine and five-year-old grandkids as we built towers with the large tissue packs! Yes, you can make fun out of simple things if you use your imagination.

Time to Smile: When a mom took her newborn to the doctor’s office for his first checkup, the doctor said, “You have a cute baby.” Smiling, the mom said, “I bet you tell that to all new parents.” “No,” he replied, “just to those whose babies really are good-looking.” “So what do you say to the others?” the mom asked. He said, “He looks just like you.”

Recommended Reading: Ten Time Bombs (Defusing the Most Explosive Pressures Teenagers Face) by Ron Hutchcraft

Previous Recap: Is it Really Necessary to Discipline my Child? We learned about the necessity of disciplining our children and not allowing them to raise themselves. We also learned that children actually want boundaries to feel safe. Yes, it is necessary to discipline our children. Creating a masterpiece means working on the flaws that could forever be a hindrance to them and their relationships with others if not fixed at a young age.