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Creative discipline

Creative discipline

Few parents enjoy their God-given responsibility of disciplining their children, and even fewer children enjoy being on the receiving end. The Bible tells us to expect discipline to be uncomfortable, but also promises positive results. This section will provide you with innovative suggestions to use when correcting your children, to help them learn to practice kindness.

For problems with thoughtless unkindness

Biblical basis

Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Suggested disciplinary action

When you see or hear of your child doing something unkind or thoughtless, have them stop and recite Luke 6:31. Have them spend some time away from play to consider the feelings of the other person. Pray together, asking God to send His Holy Spirit to fill their heart with kindness.

Affirmation

Assure your child that the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us and with His help, they can be kind. Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… .”

For problems with intentional unkindness

Biblical basis

Proverbs 11:17 “A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.”

Suggested disciplinary action

The opposite of kindness is cruelty. Although it is rare that child is truly cruel, it does happen. The difference between cruelty and thoughtlessness is that cruelty is usually premeditated. However, the recipient of our thoughtlessness can perceive what we say or do as cruel, even if the harm was unintentional.

Bring their attention to Proverbs 11:17: “A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.” You can select an appropriate form of “trouble” to bring on the offending child. The trouble should be age and maturity based. Also discuss how to make amends.

If the cruelty was intentionally breaking another child’s toy, consider how they may replace it by giving them one of their own toys or purchasing a new one. If the cruelty was verbal, have your child practice saying polite words instead of hurtful words. Pray with them to ask God’s forgiveness as well as the forgiveness of the person who has been wronged.

Affirmation

Assure your child that the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us and with His help they can be kind. Remind them of the promise in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… .”

Note: Habitual and extreme cruelty to animals can be an indicator of serious psychological problems. If your child exhibits these behaviours, see a reputable professional counsellor.