As I continue discussing I Can’t Be a “Keeper At Home” Because … with a focus on My Kids Would Drive Me Crazy. One of the most obvious reasons a person’s children might “drive them crazy” is a lack of discipline and training.
I have to admit that I have very little patience with wild, misbehaving children. I grew up with babysitters or day cares, and as a pre-teen and teen I worked in day cares. I learned very quickly that a disobedient child would ruin the whole day and there was very little that could be done about the children. Not only that, there was very little you could do to get a child to obey. Time outs are just fine in that type of situation but what if they won’t stay in a chair?
Being the oldest child in my family, I was often left in charge of younger siblings, but what can a sibling do with rowdy children. Essentially it was leave them to themselves and try to limit the damages to furniture and each other. TV was the babysitter. Thankfully, we didn’t have but a couple of channels so that limited fighting.
So fast forward to when I have my first child. There was lots of things I learned growing up that I was going to apply to raising my children.
1. Most babysitters and daycare workers are just doing their job. The minimum to get by. They aren’t keeping the children because they love them and want to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4) It is a job in order to make money. Now granted I’m sure there are some keeping children with a more worthy goal, but that is the exception.
2. Once a child learns that those over him cannot do anything to make them obey they will run right over everyone doing whatever they please. They will also threaten to tell their parents if they feel that you are in some way unfair. Normally these children also run the home and get their way there.
3. It is hard when a slightly older sibling is left in charge of younger siblings, like when home after school. I wanted to limit that as much as possible.
So I begin reading everything I could get my hands on about raising children, once I had a baby. I started off with James Dobson because those books were easily available in my church library. The New Dare to Discipline, The New Strong-Willed Child, and The New Hide or Seek: Building Confidence in Your Child. I also began listening to Focus on The Family radio broadcasts. These sources were very helpful and most of the ideas were totally new concepts even though I had been raised going to church all my life.
As time went on I found that the books by James Dobson seemed to have too much focus on self-esteem and building it in children and even adults. This was psychology that was coming through and not Biblical principles. As I was also studying my Bible, I was having much conflict with the self-esteem ideas and Biblical ideas.
Later I read a more varied type of child discipline books once I became involved in homeschooling. Michael Pearl’s books where very helpful. The To Train Up A Child series starts with the premise that children can and will sin from an early age. This series of books is best for the training of parents. Parents need to learn to be consistent and proactive. The Pearl’s KJV only stance and some of their Theology is off but they do offer practical advice for parents, especially the parents who have no idea about discipline.
Soon after that I found the book by Tedd Tripp (not to be confused with his brother Paul Tripp!) Shepherding a Child’s Heart this book combines the obedience of the child, with the discipline of the parents and all with a Biblical perspective.
But none of these books are perfect because they are written by fallen men. However they will give you an idea of how to look at training your child Biblically. The bench mark for discipline for your children is the Bible. Proverbs are particularly helpful in this area. Also the stories of God’s people will help you to see the result of poor child training even in the most Godly of men. For example just look at Jacob’s parenting or even David’s parenting.
Doorposts have some helpful resources for using Scripture to training your children. Their notebook For Instruction in Righteousness: A Topical Reference Guide for Biblical Child-Training is very helpful in looking at Scripture and how it applies to parenting, particularly Scripture that most would not even think of applying to parenting. Here is an example:
SHIFTING BLAME, MAKING EXCUSES
(See also Self-Righteousness, Lying)
This is an essential problem to deal with. We want our children to be honest in examining themselves against God’s standard, and to learn to readily confess and forsake sin. Excusing our sin and blaming our actions on others is dishonest and self-deceptive, and can lock us into immaturity and stagnation. It can also add a great burden of guilt to a life.
General information and commandments about this sin:
Pr. 21:2 Ways are right in our own eyes.
Pr. 12:15 Way of a fool is right in his own eyes.
Pr. 16:2 Man’s ways are clean in his own sight.
Pr. 30:12 Pure in own eyes, but still filthy.
All these verses point to our need to establish God’s Word as the authority in our lives. Man is not able to establish his own standard of morality; every man will do what is right in his own eyes, which leads to anarchy. ….
Another resource is Raising Godly Tomatoes which also has a website with several helpful articles Raising Godly Tomatoes. The gist of this is to keep your children with you and under your supervision until you can trust them to be obedient away from you. The most obedient, respectful children can quickly learn to behave otherwise when with other disobedient children, even if only in church activities.
All of these resources have grains of wheat (truth) and some chaff (wrong ideas), except of course the Bible. But you will like none of them nor benefit from none of them if you feel that God is a loving God who would never send people to Hell or even punish His wayward sheep. If that is your idea of God, then you have a bigger issue than discipline for your children.
Two of my goals in parenting have been:
~ How do I want my children to behave as Christian adults who serve the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind. If the actions would not be conducive to being an adult believer then why encourage it or allow it as a child. Also what behaviors did I develop as a child that became hindrances in my Christian life, how can I decrease those issues for my children?
~ If I, as the mother, do not enjoy my children enough to be with them 24/7, if need be, then why would I think another would enjoy my children. This means dealing with issues as they come up and not counting on another to deal with them with my children.