How can we discipline our children without losing our composure in the process? The Bible instructs parents to “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). This verse offers tremendous encouragement to anyone raising children.
The primary idea behind the phrase “train up” is to provide a systematic or complete training process. God wants His children to know the Scriptures and to develop a close personal relationship with Him from childhood. A comprehensive or systematic plan can help kids achieve balanced growth in Bible knowledge, develop Christ-like character, and nurture faithful conduct.
Dr. Scott Turansky writes, “One way to avoid emotional outbursts with our children is to understand the difference between tasks, problems, and conflict. Tasks are the normal things parents do each day. You get kids out of bed, make sure they’re dressed, provide breakfast, check that they have all the things they’ll need for the day, and get out the door. Then you’ll stop by the drug store to pick up the prescription and drop by the library to return the books on your way home. Tasks are the to-do list of a parent. They’re work but they’re expected. It’s part of the job.
“Problems are different. They’re obstacles that get in the way of your goals. Your son is playing with his video game when he should be getting dressed. You can’t find the prescription you need and you’re missing a library book. Your daughter’s homework isn’t in her backpack again and she can’t find her other shoe. It’s not usually the tasks that create the tension in family life. It’s the problems that get in the way.
“Conflict happens when we allow problems to escalate, typically through emotional intensity. Problems plus emotions can quickly lead to conflict.
“Here’s an important rule: Don’t turn problems into conflict. Instead look for ways to turn problems into additional tasks by developing a plan to solve them.
“Training children is a task, not a problem. The difference has to do with your expectations. If you’re surprised by your son’s resistance to instructions, then you’re liable to view it as a personal attack and escalate to conflict. But the reality is that your son’s resistance is an indication of a character weakness. It’s a problem. Part of your job as a parent is to train your child. Allow the problem of resistance to become a task of training. Develop a plan to challenge the poor character in your son and you now can approach the task of raising him using a calm, but firm manner. It’s just another one of the tasks of your job as a parent.” 1
Parents Need To Know
Ideally, parents should be actively engaged in the discipleship of their children. In reality though, discipleship is the collective responsibility of the church. As Bob Deffinbaugh writes, “Discipleship is a life-long process, beginning at the point of salvation, and participated in by a variety of individuals within the church, each as the Lord directs, from his or her own unique gift set and way.” 2
As members of God’s family, we must come alongside children and parents to encourage, assist, and equip them to fulfill the Great Commission. For all of us, the essence of “parenting” is incarnating the life of Jesus Christ before our children day-by-day.
DiscipleLand’s family of resources forms a comprehensive Children’s Discipleship System™ – an intentional, relational, and transformational discipleship process. Your children can achieve balanced growth in Bible knowledge, Christ-like character, and faithful conduct.
•Nursery curriculum (birth–age 3) includes everything your volunteers need to provide spiritual nourishment for your little lambs.
•Preschool children (ages 3–5) progress through Old and New Testament stories to discover God’s greatness and plan.
•Kindergarten kids (ages 5–6) overview the entire Bible and meet 48 different Bible personalities along the way.
•For the Elementary years (grades 1–6), choose from these options:
—Core Bible challenges children to become victorious disciples via 6 years of sequential Bible curriculum
—Adventure motivates kids to pursue their discipleship journey via essential Bible topics
—DiscipleTown equips kids with vital discipleship skills.
Free Thanksgiving Resource
On the fourth Thursday of November, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early settlers and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving. But where did the Pilgrims get the idea in the first place? Enjoyable and spiritually instructive, Thanksgiving-Your Peace Offering is highly recommended. Read to your children, print and send home with kids, or email directly to parents. Click here for an immediate download.
1 Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. BiblicalParenting.org.
2 Bob Deffinbaugh. What Happened to Discipleship in the Epistles? Web. 2012.