North Santa Rosa

Living with Purpose

There once was a man who was eating dinner at the table with his family. His daughter was in kindergarten and was misbehaving while everyone was trying to eat. Trying to control his voice he said, “Marie, you know not to do that! If you need to go to timeout, I can certainly help you! But if you can control your behavior, then you can stay with us at the table. The choice is yours.” To his surprise and everyone else, she immediately calmed down. Apparently his approach guided her response.
Good parenting requires patience and many other learned skills. But patience and self-control, when disciplining children, is something all parents need help with. The Book of Proverbs is also called the Book of Wisdom. It gives Godly counsel when it says, “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness” (Proverbs 14:29).
Impatience causes excess: too much force, too much willfulness, too much haste. A patient person does only what is needed: the necessary effort, but no more, the necessary assertiveness and no more, the necessary timing and not sooner. Patience is the way of the wise; impatience is the path of fools.
Let me share “13 Truths about Effective Discipline” when your patience may be wearing thin with your children:
• Be consistent. Don’t change the rules or punishments from day to day.
• Explain your expectations to your child. And don’t force them to guess what you want and then punish them if they guess wrong. For example, don’t just say, “Behave!” Tell specifically what needs correcting and the consequences.
• Set limits. Use only a few specific rules and stand firm. Elastic limits lead to insecurity.
• Be careful of overprotection. You can teach responsibility by letting your child face the consequences of their behavior. Limit choices though, so they’re not exposed to real danger.
• Avoid long lectures and avoid trying to get a child to confess to a misdeed. Ask questions certainly, but if you’re not sure they’re guilty, don’t force confession. Even if you know they’re guilty, a forced confession generally ends in a lie.
• Know what behaviors are normal for a child’s age. Kids shouldn’t be held to adult standards until maturity is appropriately gained. Keep their needs (for physical activity, socialization, and playing in the dirt) in mind when deciding which behavior irritates you.
• When misbehavior occurs, criticize the behavior, not the child. Preserving a child’s self-respect is very important. Let your child know that while their behavior of the moment is bad, they are okay!
• Avoid making empty threats. Children live “in the now”. Their present behavior is not going to be influenced one bit by what happens in the future.
• Be firm, but be fair. Don’t demand instant adherence to your commands for the young child. A child needs a little time to shift mental gears between play and getting ready for supper. Give a five minute warning that playtime is about to end.
• Never use sarcasm or insult your child.
• As hard as it may be, don’t argue with your child. Communicate to be understood, not to win arguments.
• Present a united front. If you and your spouse have a difference of opinion regarding discipline, settle it out of your child’s hearing range.
• Behave as you want your child to behave. Children imitate good habits and bad ones. Remember that children need a model, not a critic.
The trust you have been given as a parent or a guardian is a tremendous responsibility and it’s not an easy job. A child’s maturity will change in time. They don’t stay small for very long. But nothing can change the fact that a child is a part of their parent. As a loving parent, teach them the best that you know. They’ll make their own mistakes, but what helps kids survive is the enduring love and prayers of the ones who care for them.
• This weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s the author of the following books: “Soldiers of God: A Bible Study guide for Spiritual Warfare” and “The Authentic Teenager: A Bible Study Guide to Truth and Positive Living” and “Spiritual Fitness For Runners” and “Understanding the Higher Power”. Matthew can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living

Posted by on Jun 21 2015. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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