Children are not dumb little individuals. They learn when we mean business and they know when we back down on what we say. When disciplining children you need to say what you mean and mean what you say.
While in the grocery store the week before Christmas I went up one aisle and heard two little boys giving their mother a difficult time. Several times she told the youngest one to stop tugging on the front of her shirt because he would pull off the bow. Each time he giggled and asked what was she going to do about it. Most of those times she ignored his smart mouth. It took one more time when she finally had enough and told him she would bust his backside when they got home. The next thing I witnessed made me stop in dismay. The little fellow laughed a huge laugh and said, "You don't scare me because you never do what you say". This poor mom was humiliated! With a stern voice, she said, "you'll see just how scared you are when I bust your backside right here and now in front of these people". All I could do was nod my head to support what she was trying to imply. The mom looked at me and hastily pushed the buggy away from me and off the aisle.
I’m not sure if this poor little Momma was embarrassed because of my head nodding in approval or if she was embarrassed at the terrible truth, this child told about her. I’m certain it had something to do with me being supportive of him having his hindquarters warmed up before leaving the grocery store. Too bad time did not permit for me to follow her, I would like to know the outcome of her threat.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
As parents, we are obligated to correct our children. (Proverbs 13:24) All across this country, we have jails full of individuals whose parents either didn't give a hoot, or they didn't follow through with discipline when they threatened one. It's not fun to discipline our children, but those involved will be thankful when it is done. (Proverbs 19:18, Hebrews 12:11)
We are not our children's friend; we are not their buddies. We are their parents and they are to be taught to obey immediately with no disrespect.
Not too long ago, I heard about an adult niece being upset with her mom for allowing her to act a particular way when she was young. She had no clue she acted like a brat until she saw it for herself on an old home video. All her mom said was it was just a cute behavior. But cute was not how she acted! Whenever we knew they were coming for a visit, we dreaded it because no one could correct her when she acted like a brat. And boy, did she act like a little brat!
A time may come when we need to protect our child's life without making a big deal over the situation and scaring them to death while doing it. If they don't know to obey immediately, someone will be hurt or worse. There WILL come a time when a child is required to obey another adult. Do you really want them to show themselves disobedient and defiant?
Four Things to Ponder Before Disciplining Your Children
• Think before you make any threat of discipline. Are you willing to follow through with it? Is it worth the effort you are trying to make? Telling a child you will spank them needs to be a discipline you carry out. Taking a special something away for a week needs to be put into action without giving in halfway through. Be willing to stick to your word when you threaten a discipline.
• Discipline according to the misdemeanor. Not every wrong doing warrants a spanking, sometimes a good scolding is all that is needed. Standing with one's nose in the corner takes care of a problem. Picking up sticks or rocks as a punishment never killed a child.
• Learn how your children respond to a discipline. There are some who will melt at a stern scolding while others will need a little added heat to their bottoms for them to learn a lesson. A lot of times a repeat in punishment is needed for the offender to learn a valuable lesson. If there seems to be no end in the problem department, find a discipline that will work with the child. (Proverbs 29:15)
• Don't make empty threats. Children catch on quickly. Like I said earlier, they are not dumb little beings. They know if you follow through with a discipline or not. Their behavior will show it as well. One day very soon, they may just let others know you make these empty threats.
When you ignore your child's behavior, it only causes it to grow and get out of hand. Believe it - family and friends will begin to avoid you and your children because of disrespect and disobedience. Good parenting starts with you. There is no perfect parent, but you need to work at parenting for it to be productive.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say - you, your children, and others around you will be thankful when the communication lines are clear on the steps of discipline you will take.