Developing Godly Character in Children
by Beverly Caruso, Ken Marks, and Debbie Peterson
Training a Child is Not Easy – But Parenting is Well Worth the Time, Patience, and Love Involved.
Remember that the first step in training young lives is to decide what behavior you want, then to communicate and instruct the child toward that behavior. Correction is to follow the breaking or violation of previously established rules or guidelines with the view toward forming appropriate behavior.
Parents who are new to this way of consistent discipline have found that the children usually “test” the parent for about three days, to discover whether the parent will follow through. With love and patience, after the initial few days, life calms down and there’s little need for a test of wills. This can be an exhausting time for the parent, but if he /she has been consistent, the child will soon learn resistence isn’t worth the effort.
If you’re new to this, you might want to introduce your motivation and new methods through a discussion of point five, before the first infraction of the rules.
- Establish responsibility for the disobedience. Ask, “What did you do that was wrong?” (Not why? but what?).The goal is to have the child mentally and verbally acknowledge his responsibility.
- Avoid embarrassment and outside interference. Get alone. Only with a very young child – who can’t remember long enough to link the discipline to the offense – should discipline be dealt with publicly.
- Communicate grief over the offense. Your facial expression and words should convey your sorrow over the offense.
- Associate love with correction. God’s love and your own should be evident.
- Establish God as the final authority. The parent is God’s delegated authority over the child. However, make it your goal to instill in the child a desire to please God. Don’t portray God as waiting to pounce on the offender.
- Use a neutral object – not the hand. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him,” (Proverbs 22:15).
- Discipline until the will is broken. The goal is to break the child’s will, not his spirit.
- Comfort the child after correction. A hug and kind words will communicate acceptance and unconditional love to the child.
- Discuss any appropriate restitution. Establish the child’s responsibility in the restitution. It may include scrubbing the crayon marks off the walls or working off the cost of a broken window.
Excerpted from Developing Godly Character in Children – A Handbook and Resource Guide for Parents and Those Working with Children. Sixth Edition
© Beverly Caruso