by Neil Anderson
OPEN DIALOGUE WITH YOUR CHILD
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances
All discipline must be based on prior instruction. Make a clear statement of your expectations for a given situation and the consequences for disobedience. Ask your child to repeat what you say to make sure he understands. Then invite his questions and comments.
Honest and open dialogue after disobedience is a powerful means of discipline. Many children would rather face a paddle than verbal confrontation. Even parental silence communicates volumes. For many children, sitting emotionally exposed before an authority figure is much more threatening and shameful than a simple spanking.
What is the motivating deterrent behind a verbal confrontation? The fear of being called into accountability. We find that in our relationship with the Lord. We fear Him because we are going to stand before Him someday and give an account of our lives (2 Corinthians 5:10, 11)--not to be punished but to be rewarded. Knowing that we are going to be personally accountable before the Lord is a great driving force in our lives. We want to hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Your child feels the same way about having to answer to you. He doesn't want to look bad in your eyes. That's why it's often difficult for him to confess his misdeeds in a confrontation. When you sit down with him it will be easy for him to say, "I'm sorry," a little harder for him to say, "Will you forgive me?" and hardest for him to say, "I did it."
Helping your child learn to speak the truth in love will take a lot of love and skill on your part, especially if your child is prone to lying. If you allow him to establish a pattern of deception as a means of avoiding confrontation, you are in for a lot of pain during his adolescence. You must work toward honest confession or any method of discipline will be ineffective.
Prayer: Lord, help me develop honesty and openness with You so I can model and teach these qualities to my children.
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