"Punishment Doesn't Help"
Journalist Betsy Flagler writes the syndicated "Parent to Parent" column
that asks readers to write in with parenting problems and then tries to get
expert help to those troubles. A mother in
She notes that "instead of thinking you must control your child's behavior, help your child learn to control himself. Set limits, give reminders, be his advocate." Okay, that all sound great. What happens, however, when little Johnny breaks the limits and won't listen to reminders? Some might think that it would be the time to discipline Johnny. Oh. no! We must not do that! "External controls such as taking a bike away do not teach self-control," says child expert Jane Nelsen (who of course has written a book on child rearing). Ms. Nelsen goes on to analyze why the child pushes and hits others and notes that discipline is not the answer. "It's a crazy idea that to help children do better, first we have to make them feel worse ... A misbehaving child is a discouraged child. Punishment doesn't help him feel he belongs."
Amazing stuff; isn't it? One hundred years ago parents knew how to handle children who hit and kicked others. Now, in our sophisticated age, we "know better" than to discipline like grandma and grandpa did, but kids are more unruly than ever. All these experts write book after book on child-rearing, but everyone seems to have forgotten The Expert's book on child-rearing, the Bible.
The Bible notes that these parents who are so worried that Johnny will feel "left out" or "that he doesn't belong" actually hate their child: "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly" (Prov 13:24). A parent who is more concerned with the child's immediate feelings than long-range character growth is a parent who is failing that child!
Further, the experts can say all they want about punishment not being helpful, but God says, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him" (Prov 22:15). Talking and learning communication skills aren't the issue; selfishness is. Johnny doesn't have a communication problem - he is very good at letting everyone know that he wants his way now. Instead of being paralyzed with a fear that for even a moment Johnny might not feel great about himself, Johnny must learn that if he acts badly he will feel bad - because he should feel bad about acting badly! "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted" (2 Cor 7:10).
Today we have far too much analysis of why children misbehave and not nearly enough decisive action to stop it. There is too much concern about Johnny's self-esteem and not nearly enough interest in his actions and making wrong behavior extremely unpleasant and undesirable. May God bless every parent to seek His wisdom and not the foolishness expressed in columns like "Parent to Parent!"
THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOME
"One percent of the child's time is spent under the
influence of the Sunday school; 7 percent under the
influence of the public school; 92 percent under the
influence of the home." (Albert S. Taylor)
Consider the amount of time a child watches television and weigh the influence - in the home - in front of the television. The results are staggering no doubt. The kind of adults our children will be is greatly determined by the amount of influence they have in their growing years. The church cannot bring children to Christ with only four hours (or less in many cases) a week no more than someone going to medical school fours a week will make them a doctor. By the time they receive their degree in medicine, everything they have
learned will be outdated.
The time spent in Bible class is very important! Yet, too many parents believe that time spent in Bible class is all that is needed. We moan that we are losing our young people. People say, "But I brought him to church all his life and now he wants nothing to do with the Lord." Can it be that the only time the child saw the Lord in his life was in church? The influence of teaching children about God is not accomplished fully in church Bible classes. If a parent is not taking time and opportunity to share the gospel with their children on a daily basis then why question the disposition of the grown child who cares nothing for God?
Parents must instill in their children every day the values established by God's word. Values of influence are established by the kind of movies we watch, shows we turn on, books we read and magazines we subscribe to.
Parents show their children God by their words and deeds of kindness. Children learn about the gospel when parents emphasize spiritual matters in their lives. The influence of Godly mothers and fathers is found when children are taught to dress modestly. Mothers and fathers are the influence that is first seen by the children and forms the basis of their own lives.
---Kent E. Heaton Sr.
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.
Character is much easier kept than recovered.
Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.
That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.