When I was a young boy, we lived in California. This was in the late 50s and early 60s. We didn’t have a TV of our own, but our neighbors did, and every Saturday morning their kids would invite me over to watch cartoons with them. Our favorite shows were Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger. One Saturday morning I went next door as I usually did, and knocked on the door. No one answered, so I knocked again. Finally, someone called out from the inside, “Mark, we can’t let you in now, our chores need to be done first.” Well my friends, I was not going to take no for an answer, I wanted to see my shows! Being determined as I was, 7 years old and certainly foolish, I continued pounding and pounding on that door until I put a hole in their door! That’s the gospel truth. I put a hole in their door from pounding my fist on it. Needless to say, their folks were not happy about it. Later that day, when my dad got home, let me tell you, my bottom felt the consequences of my choices and bad behavior. My dad had to buy them a new door! I had to walk over to their house and apologize. I also didn’t get to see my favorite shows again for a very long time. I certainly learned a very valuable lesson, and thank God my dad and mom had the courage to impose and administer the necessary consequences for my bad behavior.
One of life’s most critical lessons we need to teach our children is: Choices bring consequences. Actions have consequences.
Many parents, unfortunately, fail miserably in teaching this invaluable lesson to their child. Time and time again they allow the bad choices or bad behavior of their children to go uncorrected, undisciplined and do not hold them to account. This is not only unhealthy for your child’s personal growth and development, but it is destructive to their well being, setting them up for a lot of pain as an adult.
It is vitally important we teach our children to think before they act. To consider beforehand, what will be the consequences of my words, actions and behavior in this situation. Obviously young ones, toddlers and small children do not possess this ability to see before they act. As parents we need to be sure that we’re teaching them there will be consequences for their wrong behavior or wrong actions. It is imperative that we discipline them ourselves, that we establish consequences or as the Bible says quite clearly, you will ruin their life!
Proverbs 19:18 NLT
Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don’t you will ruin their lives!
One version says “Avoiding it can be deadly!” Another version says, “Do not help him destroy himself.” None of us want to ruin our children’s lives, or help them destroy themselves, but if we do not effectively teach, impose, and administer consequences, that is exactly what we’re doing!
With this imperative truth in mind let me offer some practical wisdom and advice.
Start when they are young giving them clear guidelines and instructions, then provide the consequences needed for them when they violate or disobey what they were told. Do this with great consistency, love, and diligence. Do not get lazy about this, or put it off.
Always take the time needed to explain to them in a way they understand what they did wrong, and why the consequence is necessary at this time.
Don’t correct them by belittling them, or making fun of them. Yes, It may be appropriate to ask them how they would feel if someone did that to them. Or to use some kind of reasoning, story scenario to help them grasp the lesson you are trying to teach them. This is especially useful as children get a bit older and can understand much more.
Always have them make things right whenever possible. Whether going to apologize for a wrong done, or a bad thing said to someone, or making restitution for something they deliberately broke or misused.
Be sure to praise and commend their right actions, and their good choices. Help them to see the blessings that result from doing good.
It can also be very appropriate and wise to use the loss of privileges for a duration of time as an effective consequence. Depending on the severity of the bad choice or bad behavior it might even mean the loss completely of certain privileges.
Make sure you think through the proportionate, judicial use of consequences and revoking of privileges. Don’t strain at a gnat and swallow a camel!
Do not use anger, rage, or expressed exasperation unleashed as a consequence on your child. Never call them foolish, hurtful names. These actions will be very detrimental and cause them to genuinely resent you and mistrust you.
Parents, YOU WILL NEED MUCH WISDOM! Pray, and ask God for it. Over, and over again. As the Bible instructs, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Never forget these real life glaring examples of no consequences for bad behavior, and the catastrophic results! Joe Biden’s pathetic fathering of Hunter, who never faced any severe consequences for his terrible behavior, and Joe Biden’s cowardice and unwillingness to bring crushing consequences on Iran. Both failures to impose and administer appropriate consequences have resulted in multiple catastrophes.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling