If you read Saturday’s post; you may not be surprised to hear that lately I have been struggling with how to discipline my children. It seems that nothing I say or do causes them to want to obey. In fact; it almost seems like anything I say or do causes them to completely disobey. I have the most trouble with Kendal (age 3) who is completely capable of understanding me and obeying. She just chooses to ignore me, run away from me, and/or collapse on the floor in a tantrum. The problem with Audrey (age 1) is that even though she doesn’t completely understand me she does understand how to imitate Kendal. In the past several years; I have read several parenting books and magazines. I have also participated in a couple of parenting Bible study groups. The most important thing that seems to be the key to discipline is: Consistency… one thing that I am not at all good at (unless it involves alphabetizing my Books or DVDs).
When children obey their parents; they stay under their protective covering. We as parents will not knowingly steer our children on the wrong path. We don’t tell them to do something without a purpose behind it. Sometimes the purpose is to keep them from danger or to teach them a lesson (“Don’t run into the street.” or “Do your homework.”). Other times it is so that they can have their independence with boundaries (“You can go out with friends but you must be home before 10pm.”). For the past few weeks; Audrey has been in the habit of climbing our step tansu (a piece of asian furniture that is in the shape of steps). No matter how many times that we tell her not to climb, remove her from it, or even spank her, she still goes back to it. Today, while climbing, she fell off. Thankfully, she was not hurt badly. If she had obeyed us; she would not have fallen.
God’s commands in scripture are there to keep us (his children) on the right path.
“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love,
just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15:10
They are there to protect us from danger that we may not be able to see. They are there to teach us lessons that we need to learn. They are there so that we can have some independence with boundaries. But, we as children think that we know what is best for us. When we disobey; we are sinning and we get hurt (emotionally, physically, mentally, and/or spiritually). I hope that Audrey has finally learned to obey us when we tell her not to climb the step tansu. And…I still need to remember that I need to be obedient to my Father’s commands too.
(This has a third piece that creates higher steps but we use it in another part of the house.)
[Update-April 13, 2010: I guess she didn’t learn her lesson 😦 My husband took the following picture this morning.]