Parenting and Discipline - What to Keep in Mind

As a parent I can tell you with absolute certainty, discipline is one of the hardest things to figure out. It's also the topic that generates the most discussion and controversy. That's why I'm glad Michelle Anthony, in her book Spiritual Parenting, reminds us what the Bible says about this important topic.

The greatest news of all is, it doesn't matter what side of the discussion you fall on. What she shares applies across the board.

Here's what she says:

"The task of biblical discipline can be exhausting and bring even the most dedicated of parents to their knees – which, ironically, is the first place that a spiritual parent needs to begin. Instead of relying on our own wisdom and strength or giving up all together, we must first come to Jesus and ask Him, 'How would You like me to bring correction to this child You have given me?' In this act of surrender, we are ready to understand what God desires for us in course correction." (pg. 152)

"The end goal for us as parents is to conduct God's discipline in our children's lives in such a way that they experience healing from their sin." (pg. 155)

"Ultimately, the purpose of discipline is to create an environment where the root of the problem is exposed and healed so that it no longer causes the negative behavior. This is true spiritual formation, but so often we settle for behavior modification ... Our goal in course correction is to align their hearts with a path of healing that only God can bring. When we do this, we allow our children to be honest about sin, not to hide it or manage it in their flesh, and by doing so we help the begin to understand why they need a Savior." (pg. 156)

Anthony ends the chapter with a 3 step process that is based on Hebrews 12:11-13. It looks like this:

1. Pain (vs. 11)

According to Anthony, "... true healing starts with pain." She suggests that this pain should be "child-specific" (pg. 159) because all children are unique and respond differently, rather than a predetermined "parenting style" (pg. 160). The purpose of this pain is break "down the child's will, bringing them to a place of submission." (pg. 161)

2. Building back up (vs. 12)

This step should be immediate and, "... bring restitution to the the child in love, in affection and in encouragement." (pg. 161) Love needs to be demonstrated with eye-to-eye contact and words of affirmation. Affection is shown with a hug (even if it isn't reciprocated). The encouragement being discussed, "... gives hope, without it the Enemy will lie to our children and convince them they can never change." (pg. 162)

3. Make paths straight (vs. 13)

The final step of discipline is, "... simply plotting a new course for them. Here we teach them what is means to change and acknowledge that they will need God's help to do this." (pg. 162) 

Anthony wraps up this chapter this way, "Course correction is a loving, respectful, - and productive - way of dealing with our children's misdeeds." (pg. 170) We all know our kids are going to make mistakes, the real question is how are we going to handle them?

(All quotes taken from Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony ©2010 published by David C. Cook)

Parents, Are Your Kids too Comfortable?

As parents we desire to protect and provide for our kids. It's a natural tendency which to a certain extent is a very good and healthy thing. But what happens when we make things too comfortable for our kids? How do we know when we've gone too far?

Michelle Anthony, in her book Spiritual Parenting, puts it this way:

"Signs of a home whose children are living in excessive comfort including laziness, ingratitude, lack of motivation, selfishness, entitlement, a critical spirit, and gluttony - among others." (pg. 122)

When we try to overprotect we are potentially trying to interfere with what God is teaching them. We see throughout Scripture that God uses trials to grow the faith of His people. Michelle Anthony goes on to explain that the by-products of such trials are, "... perseverance and mature faith." (pg. 124) Isn't this what we truly desire for our kids? How else will they learn to live in a sin-soaked world.

I'm all for protecting our kids from things that will hurt them and their faith. But there's a problem when protection becomes for the sake of comfort. There's a problem when kids are so comfortable that don't see their need for Christ. Michelle Anthony wraps up the chapter this way:

"When we really believe that what God is preparing for us in eternity is far greater than anything we could suffer here on earth, then we are free to live a life of risk and abandonment not bound by fear. A generation empowered by this mind-set will be a generation to be reckoned with - of that I am certain!" (pg. 134)

All quotes taken from Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony ©2010 published by David C. Cook

Michelle Anthony on Kids in Community

I’m reading Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today's Families by Michelle Anthony. Yesterday I finished chapter 5. It was all about kids in community. My heart is so full of joy and hope that I had to share these quotes:

Our kids desperately need the faith community because it is the one place were there are other people who worship the same God, believe the same things, and are dedicated to living the same life. Our children need to know they are not alone. (pg. 83)

When these two places, home and faith community, work together in harmony, they have lifelong influence. Neither home nor faith community can do it alone, but together they offer the best opportunity for faith to take root into the adult years. (pg. 87)

It’s imperative that we put our children in close proximity to the faith community, because the work is hostile toward their faith. (pg. 90)

The faith community is a place to be strengthened, to be known, to remember God, and to celebrate in worship. In order for the faith community to retain its vibrancy, however, it must continually be increasing in new life and authentic transformation. (pg. 96)

All quotes taken from Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today's Families by Michelle Anthony © 2010 and published by David C. Cook.

I love when people say things that I’ve been thinking. I (sort of) hate it when they say it better than I could. So, I settle on being thankful for these words. May we continue to find creative ways to include kids in faith communities. This post originally appeared at pataldridge.com