Whether you are a Sunday regular or a CME (Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter) or a Bedside Baptist saint I’m sure you’ve heard the scripture about discipline…spare the rod and spoil the child. It comes from Proverbs 13:24 and pretty much says that if you choose not to discipline your child they will end up continuing to misbehave and you’ll end up with a spoiled brat who doesn’t know right from wrong. So what do you think? Do you really think forgoing discipline makes for a rotten child? Will they be a brat? Or will that frontal lobe develop in time to save them? The reality is that home is where kids learn, or should learn, the world’s system of checks and balances and what happens when they don’t do everything as excepted.
How do you interpret the idea of discipline and teaching this concept to your kids? Is an ‘eye for an eye’ how you do it or what about turning a blind eye to their misbehaviors? Honestly, I like to think I am somewhere in between. Let’s be real- I cannot ‘police’ every wrong or annoying move Tre makes nor do I want to. Be clear, he knows what a pop and a spanking is and there are times he gets them. And sometimes natural consequences are his best
teacher. I think about the times he “skates” across the floor in his socks complete with a running start after I’ve told him countless times to stop or he will slip and fall. Well…..you know what happens…..the natural consequence of him busting his butt! That’s an easy one life can teach him that won’t likely end up scaring him for life. But what about those not so simple situations where if you really let life ‘teach them a lesson’ it could/would end up costing a lot more than sore buns and temporary tears. How do you handle it? Stealing. Lying. Intentionally hurting someone. Teenage or pre-teen attitude. Flat out repeated disobedience. What about those things?
I grew up in a household where discipline was a staple in my parent’s ‘book’ of parenting and I had a healthy fear of my parents. No, I didn’t walk around on eggshells and they didn’t let my sister or I get away with just anything. My fear was based in not wanting to disappoint them and for me that was enough. With all that they did, I did, however, get (and earn) my fair share of whoopings, smacks in the mouth, punishments, etc. I was that kid! How they put up with my sassy mouth and strong personality I don’t know, but it resulted in what I believe are a pretty responsible, hard-working,
tax paying, ethical, woman who is working hard to teach my child the very same values. And the same can be said for my sister. Talking to other parents I understand that raising a child is hard. They will misbehave. They will break your rules and somebody else’s. They will do things that make you scratch your head in disbelief. Again, what do you do?
I believe in creating a community of support for myself so when I am struggling and in need of mommy help I can reach out for help. Do you ever throw out a lifeline for help when it comes to discipline? Those days will come when you may need to phone a friend for a suggestion about to how to handle a discipline predicament. Reach out. It doesn’t make you look like less than a great mom when you do. Motherhood did not come with a “How To” guide so we are winging it in a way.
So back to this biblical rod or lack thereof- which do you choose? Working with children on a regular basis I see the results of checks and balances when they are extreme or well-balanced or even nonexistent and the children it impacts. I see the results of the blind eyes that were turned when rules were broken and consequeces were omitted and I see the other side where parents dole out meaningful consequences for misbehaviors and how it translates into more thoughtful decisions. Know this- the lessons we teach our children (by word and deed) remain with them forever. Here’s to the meaningful, thougthful and sensible lessons you teach. –Krystal