The Biblical Aspect of Discipline

Matilda now at 2 years and 4 months old, has become very much curious in everything. A normal toddler just like her, has the ability to make her parents joyful and disappointed all at the same time. Well, that’s really how raising a child goes, don’t you agree?

Ever since Matilda was still in my tummy, we have always contemplated on how we will be able to raise her as a Godly child. I, myself, for example, wasn’t raised in a Christian home, but Joey on the other hand was. He grew up a fine man, with respect toward authorities, and has been very obedient to rules, whether set by his parents, in school, and now, as a professional. I praise God for how he was brought up to be the man he has become.

I know A LOT of people will take this post negatively. You might think that what I am about to tell you is some form of child abuse. You might even misjudge me for being impatient and worse, a bad parent. But don’t you worry, I have been judged way too many times with how I am raising my child, and honestly, it is just us, her parents, who reap all the benefits that Biblical Discipline has given her. And soon, as she grows up to be the woman she is bound to become, I know she will be grateful for it, just like her Papa is, to his parents.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)

As Christians, we are commanded in the Bible to train and discipline our children. This means, we as parents, are fully responsible in how we will be raising God-fearing, obedient and respectful kids. Ever wondered why your kid suddenly became so disobedient? That even though no one taught them to say no, or do the opposite of what was asked of them, they still grow up doing EXACTLY that? Why do you think children are so entitled thinking they should always have it their way, or else they will give you such a hard time pacifying them? Well, this verse clearly states the reason why.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15 NASB)

What is this “foolishness” the Bible is talking about? Because of The Fall of Man, we have all become sinners in the eyes of our God. We have all been sinful even while we were inside the womb of our mothers. This means, we are to commit these sins even as children. And the most common of these are Disobedience and Disrespect.

Now that Biblically, I am painting this picture for you to understand why discipline is necessary, knowing the basis and background as to why children are really born to be like that, let us now go back to how we enforce this to our Matilda.

On the second part of the verse above, it says, The rod of discipline will remove it (foolishness) far from him. What is this “rod” we are talking about here? The rod is an object we use for spanking. It may actually be anything, but for us, we use the belt.

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24 NIV)

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11 NIV)

We discipline by spanking because we believe that it is what God wants us to do. The Bible’s credibility cannot be questioned because of its infallibility and inerrancy. Did you know that from Genesis to Revelation, there is not even one contradicting statement in the Scripture? It’s one of the many reasons, apart from History, great amount of evidences, fulfilled prophecies and promises, and so on, why we believe it’s true. That it is in fact, the Word of God. And because of our faith in Him, we should obey His Word.

Since we realized the gravity that disciplining a child entails, we then started seeking God’s word. We wanted to learn even more from Him, on how we can raise a Godly child in order that we may bring all the Glory back to Him as we raise her. We also got the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart (where most of the principles written here are derived from), which explains our role as parents, and how we can be intentional in molding the heart of our child. It all begins from the heart, the behavior of your child is an overflow of the heart.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. (Luke 6:45 NLT)

Discipline is not an easy task. It takes a great amount of patience to be able to get it right. You see, we should never spank in anger. Children will know when you are angry, they will remember this, and it will give a negative effect in the implementation of discipline. In fact, being angry in itself is already sinful. Being angry, usually when we don’t have it our way is considered unholy anger, but to be angry at the sin in itself, knowing that this specific sin is never tolerated by God, and it makes you upset, that is holy anger. Always make sure your heart is on the right place. So, when do we spank? And how do we begin to do it?

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James 1:19-20)

First of all, for a child to know the concept of obedience, we must instill this to them at a very young age. If I remember correctly, I started talking to Matilda about obedience when she was around 6-7 months old. Around this time, they already show their very distinct behavior. When you observe them play, interact with others, eat, or even during idle time, you will notice their character slowly forming. With Matilda, I began by getting her familiar with the word “obey”. I would always remind her this whenever I attend to her. For example, during diaper changes. Babies can be very irritable especially when you put them down for this. So what I do is, I look her in the eyes and say, “Matilda, you have to stay still and behave, I am going to change your diaper. You have to OBEY Mommy.” I tell her this, every opportunity I get, with a firm voice. It may be during play time as well. Like when she started dropping her toys from the crib to the floor, I would remind her, “Matilda, the floor is dirty, if you want to play with your toys some more, you have to keep them in your crib. You have to OBEY Mommy.” These are just some instances, so you would have an idea. And this advice was something I learned from Deonna Tan-Chi when we attended a Parenting Seminar at CCF, called Counterflow.

You have to understand something, babies are very smart. They can already comprehend even when they can’t talk yet. So, never underestimate their capability to understand and never get tired of explaining to them these things. As for Matilda, we knew she could very well understand us at around 9-10 months. It was the time we started contemplating that it may be good to start spanking. Just so you know, we spank only on two occasions, and that is when she disobeys or disrespects us. The moment she defies our authority, we administer spanking. So here’s how.

Knowing FULL well that Matilda understood that she had to obey and instead she still defied us, we would get her and bring her to a private place (for us it’s our other room where we store our things). I put her on my lap and talk to her. I would remind her of what she did, explain to her why it was wrong and reinforce that she had to obey. I would then tell her that I would need to spank her because it is what God wants me to do in order to discipline her. I’d go on and tell her how many swats she’ll get, (we do just one) and then I proceed by telling her I love her, and that I am doing this for her own good, so that next time, she would learn to OBEY. Next is to put down her pants, and lay her face down on my lap, her bottom exposed. I would get the belt and give one swat. One is enough for us because I do it effectively. It should be hard and painful but not to the point the skin breaks. (With us, her skin usually turns red for a while). And then I immediately put on her pants and hug her tight. I console her from the pain, and then reassure her of my love. When she is already calm and collected, we say a prayer together.

For the first few times we did this, it was very, very difficult. I cried with Matilda at the sight of seeing her in pain. I also had a hard time accepting my responsibility to enforce discipline and have not been consistent at it. Those inconsistencies brought confusion in Matilda and I realized I am making it even more difficult for her, because she couldn’t get the message clearly. Although, remembering all the promises in the Bible gave me peace knowing that what I am doing is God’s will, and His will is always good. Also, knowing the fact that I am just His agent, whom He expects to do his duty, I, myself, am bound to obey. So, I then made it a point to consciously be on the lookout for circumstances wherein discipline should be enforced, and did it consistently this time around.

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.(Ephesians 6:1-3)

I praise God that we are now even more blessed to have Matilda understand the gravity of obedience and respect. She is growing up to be a good little girl who listens and obeys without question, challenge or delay. Sure, there are still moments wherein she fails, and acts differently, but those times are now becoming very rare. As of this moment, I can no longer remember the last time I spanked her. This is the exact validation how we know, we are on the right track. As I have said in the beginning of this post, we do this because we believe that this is our duty as parents. God entrusted us with a child who will someday become of influence to this world. It is a big responsibility to be able to bring her up in the fear of the Lord, so that someday, she will be useful for the glory of His kingdom. Discipline is not easy and without God’s grace, we wouldn’t be able to do it effectively. It is our prayer as parents, that Matilda will remember the principles we are instilling in her young mind, and then hopefully apply it, as she grows.

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. (Proverbs 29:17 ESV)

How is the heart of your child? Have you been diligent in disciplining them? If so, are you happy with the result? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

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