Godly Parenting in a World of Confusing Inputs
In my quest to develop The Almond Tree Children’s Village disciplinary policy and code of conduct, I have been pondering, praying and researching various sources about discipline.
We are desperately in need of this policy structure as we have faced many challenges over the past few months having accepted older children into our care and protection program. Children who have experienced immense trauma and brokenness but who are still in need of discipline and loving boundaries. My cry has been, “Jesus……HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” As I look back over my life, it is now obvious how the Lord has prepared me for “SUCH A TIME AS THIS.”
As a parent of four biological children, my early days were filled with desperate attempts to find all the answers to parenting and discipline. I read as much material as I could get my hands on with the goal to become the best parent that I could be for my children and as an expression of my worship to Jesus Christ.
Reading “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp revolutionized my understanding and purpose of parenting my children. Understanding that the heart of every child needed to be shepherded rang so true in my spirit, knowing how much my own heart needs to be shepherded by my Great Shepherd.
Through raising my biological children and having well over 100 babies and children come through our hands at The Almond Tree, while also dealing with countless other parents and children over the years, I have experienced and believe that children progress very well, with a confident parent who understands their position of authority.
I find it quite a challenge to raise children in a culture where parents are encouraged to raise their children with a “child focused” approach. In a world where selfishness and ego are emboldened in the hearts of children through various digital communication channels.
I have had to learn to drown out the voices of my culture and even my children at times and seek the voice of the Lord and look into His Word for wisdom and clarity regarding discipline and parenting.
I have grown from a very impatient parent who “shouted” a lot, feeling out of control, being tossed like a wave of the sea from one parenting/discipline ideology to another. When finally I grasped that I am the parent and for that reason, I make the calls and my children need to learn to obey me and trust in my guidance. Paul taught in Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” and Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.” It is good for children to obey their parents.
In the ocean of available parenting self-help books, ideologies, philosophies and even Christian handbooks on parenting, I have come to believe that the Bible is our most dependable and safe guide. 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
The Bible presents an “accurate and comprehensive picture of children, parents, family life, values, training, nurture and discipline – all you need to be equipped for the task of parenting.” (Tripp 1995: XIX)
One incident that I can remember which happened recently in our Tree House children’s home was when little Miss Sindi, who is 5 years old, decided that cleaning up the playroom was a joke and that my instructions to clean up was funny and that my request did not need to be respected or obeyed.
I have seen this “movie” play out so many times over the years, with various children and I knew the I had to take this opportunity to parent with authority and confidence.
I explained to little Miss Sindi that she needed to obey me, which was met with laughter and disregard of my instructions. I reacted by scooping her up and heading with her down the passage towards the bedrooms. At this point little Miss laughing Sindi turned into a screaming, kicking bundle in my hands. I put her down onto her bed and said, “Sindi, you need to obey me, you need to help clean up the playroom.” She was cross and started rolling off her bed, at which I kept putting her back on the bed and said that she would have to stay on her bed until she said sorry and was ready to help clean the playroom. It took a little while but soon enough the rebellion broke in her heart. She climbed off her bed and came looking for me to apologize to me.
What amazed me about Little Miss Sindi was that, in her heart, she actually did want to do what was right. She recognized that being disobedient made her feel bad and it separated her from the rest of the home.
I made sure she felt my forgiveness and pleasure at her coming to a place of saying sorry. Love and affection and the joy of her presence was once again restored to the home and something of a learning experience was marked up in her heart and mind that day. Knowing that even though she may have been disobedient, she was corrected but still fully loved and accepted by her family.
Sometimes as parents we feel tired and worn out by dealing with our little people day in and day out, but consistency in discipline is vital for training little ones to behave. Our yes must be yes, and our no must be no, anything less and we risk confusing our children.
Parents knowing their position of authority and children understanding the importance of obeying is really where it all begins. Discipline should bring restoration to the child and the relationship between parent and child. If you want to be taken seriously by a child, then be consistent. It is not what we do once in a while that will shape our child’s life, but it is what we do consistently.
Story by Charmaine McQueen
Tripp, Tedd. Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press, 1995. Print