I just finished an excellent parenting/disciplining/discipling children book! I highly recommend it! I thought I might just give you some things that I thought were important take aways for me anyways!
She said instead of just punishing or disciplining our children, we need to provide them away of escape - a way out of a sin or misbehavior. Telling them or showing the right way/choice and having them repeat it back or role play it back (what should they have said or done). For example, when my child whines when asking for something, not just telling him not to whine, but telling him how I would like him to ask for something: "Mommy, may I please have a drink". She said if we just punish and don't show them the correct way to act and have them practice it, anger and frustration will build up in them. She gave an example of how we train our dogs to go potty outside...we don't just swat them, we put them outside to show them where to go. This lead me to try something with my dog...
If any of you have been to my house, you know that upon leaving, my dog barks in a circle at your feet. He has done this since he was 6 months old. We use to spank him for it...we have yelled at him, put him in other rooms when we left (to avoid the behavior), etc (sound familiar parents of children?)...and nothing has worked. He's 7 now so I have just given up thinking he would always be that way. But I realized after reading that, that I was never giving him an escape - showing him another way to act. So I tried it...upon leaving one morning, he did his normal follow me to the door growling at my feet. I turned around calmly and looked at him and said "no bark...go lay in your bed". And he did it! I about fell over...couldn't believe how easy it was. Now, just like a child, he hasn't been so obedient every single time, but we are working on him...after all this is a 7 year old habit! His way out, is his bed.
She also says to tell them what the bible says about each behavior and not use different words - use what the bible actually says. Don't say "you are acting ugly"...say you are acting foolish and give bible verses to go along. She gave a nice chart to show different misbehaviors and what verses you can use (Child's behavior; Heart probing question; reproof - put off; encourangement - put on; and verses). She does it in a way that doesn't sound "lectur-y" but loving. Like "I love you too much to allow to disobey and for sin to grow in your heart". Just an example. She gives alot of examples of real life like sibling rivalry and other things that we deal with as parents on a daily basis. This whole concept has really shown me that I don't know the bible as well as I thought I did. I have a lot of studying to do to be able to really understand and speak scripture to my children. It also showed me how difficult and time consuming parenting really is. So if you don't have children, you might want to reconsider having them...nah...just kidding. Just know that it is more work than one might think. Maybe I was just naive but I seriously didn't think it would be this hard. No wonder people give up, make excuses, give in to their children...it's exhausting and truly a JOB!!!
Here are some benefits Ginger gives of teaching in the context of the moment (don't wait til later):
1. Children learn how to become "doers" of the Word and not "hearers"
2. Children comprehend better when they learn in a hands-on situation
3. Children gain the skills of fleshing out God's Word in daily life
4. Children are better equipped to obey God's word
She also gives parents these nice and convicting responsibilities:
~To use every opportunity to point children to their need for Christ
~To train them to obey God by honoring and obeying their parents. She says "If we fail to require obedience from our children, we become a stumbling block for them. Luke 17:2 explains that it would be better for us to drown in a sea with a millstone tied around our necks than to cause a child to stumble. We are robbing our children of the blessings that God intends for them when we fail to require obedience."
~To teach them wisdom for daily life
~To train them in righteousness. "Paul told Timothy in 1 Timonthy 4:7-8 to 'have nothing to do with goldess myths and old wives tales, rather, train yourself to be goldy. For physical training is of some value, but godliness have value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come'. It is important that our children are in the habit of thinking and acting right.
~To pray for them
~ To be a godly example
She has 6 guidelines for verbal correction which are very good also but I won't get into those here. (read the book) She also give the biblical meaning/use of the "rod" in discipline (spanking)....(again, read the book)
She has a section on worldy methods that we use in an attempt to obtain obedience - which don't work because they are worldly and not godly...these were very convicting because I think I have done every single one of them. One in particular that I saw just this weekend and know I have done before is bribing. She says that bribing is not training for obedience; it's rewarding the child for stubbornness. You can have dessert if you eat dinner...you can have a sucker if you are good at the store. "Children should be taught to obey because it is right and because it pleases God, not to get a reward. Giving them a reward in order to get them to obey encourages them in selfishness...their motive for obeying is, "i'll obey for what I can get out of it". This seems like a no brainor but we can easily get wrapped into not wanting to deal with a tantrum or a fit and so we give in to things just to avoid that. It is better to talk through it and explain and teach then to give in...even if the item under discussion is only $1.
She also talks about how we threaten when we should just expect obedience the first time they are asked. We are working on this one. I ask once and if obedience doesn't happen, a consequence does. Wow, that's hard. She says the reward for this is that they will be obedient to God the first time if they are use to being obedient to us (the parents) the first time...now, we all want to achieve that, don't we??
I also loved how she talked about how we manipulate their environment to keep them from being disobedient. This goes back to when they first start crawling and they get into our things. Instead of telling them no or slapping their hand, we move our stuff around (usually up higher) so that they won't get into it. We say things like "he doesn't know any better" or "he's just curious" but this does not teach him self control or obedience, it says "If you can reach it, its yours to play with". Excellent point...so glad I already did that one when my kids were little. We didn't move any of our things! It makes me feel better after I heard other people tell me "just move it", "she doesn't know any better". She says that parents will say how smart their 9 month old is when it comes to language and how much they understand, but when it comes to something like their environment, then they aren't "smart enough" to understand what they can touch and what they can't...just doesn't make sense!
Okay...well, I think I am done on my soap box...it's an excellent book and a short read (150 pages). I highly recommend it. Start while they are young (below 2 if possible)...this will help you on the parenting end and help them in the long run too. If you haven't been doing this, she says its not too late to start and discusses ways to start. Get the book...read the book...I want this for my own kids as much as I want it for yours! I want it for me as much as I want it for you! Good luck!!