Couple of things I want to say on this topic.
One main thing is that it’s better to cultivate the natural love power that God instilled in your child for you, than to spend most of your time exercising the punishment or negative power that you have.
What does this mean? Clay Clarkson in Heartfelt Discipline talks about the natural affection children have for their parents. I think Ross Campbell speaks of this, too. Parents are in a unique position to transmit love and acceptance to children that no one else in the world can do for that child.
Not long ago, I understood that God is not scared or repulsed by my sin. He dealt with it in Christ on the cross. Now I am perfectly accepted. And you know, it’s only that acceptance that moves me towards postive transformation—not fear, shame or guilt.
Be careful with parenting instructions that teach you to be heavy handed, to prove your parental authority by exertion of force, to use mental or emotional manipulation or unkindness with your child. How does God treat you? How does He feel towards you? The way you treat your chilren changes you. Who are you becoming?
Yes, there is a lot we want to see changed or developed or transformed in our kids—God sees the same with us. God doesn’t demand perfection from us, and we cannot demand this from our kids. He’s slowly working in us “to will to do of his good pleasure.” Childrearing is part of that process in your child’s life if s/he becomes a believer. It’s OK that it takes time, years, to be transformed. It doesn’t have to be when a child is 2 or 3 or even 10. Christlike transformation is a lifelong process for us all.
Use of positive desire in childrearing is extremely desirable. As much as possible, we should be dispensing positive elements like focused attention, time, pleasant eye contact, holding, hugging, etc. And doing that while we are instructing or correcting. It doens’t mean our kids never cry or experience unpleasant things. But the overall tone of our interactions should be positive.
Pleasant feelings are the healthiest motivators—if the pleaant feelings are moving in the direction of guiding the child to do what is right. For this reason, training should be as positive and pleasant as possible. And also for this reason, punishment should not be the primary means of relating to a child.
This important concept of using positive means to control your child’s behavior is exactly the opposite of what is being taught from some Christian sources today. . . . Misunderstanding the true needs of their children, reactive parents have gone along with harsh, discipline-oriented parenting and then later watched their chilren develop anti-parent, antiauthority, anti-God attitudes and values. (Campbell, RP, 165-166)
Bad power is the power like the unsaved “lord” over those beneath them. It’s an interesting thing for me to examine how I am using my power as a parent. Am I using it to spank? Yell? Punish by withholding myself? To assert my parental authority? Or am I using it to edify and nurture? To bless and give pleasure while training?
The commands to God for children to obey their parents are given to the children. God didn’t say “parents, make your kids obey you.” Sure, at young ages, we definitely train and teach them to obey. But we do that knowing that they need to reach maturity where they themselves desire and choose to do this, imperfectly, sure. But Christ lived the perfect life for us all. And we are in Him, we have that perfection applied to our accout already.
Parents, need, at some level, to accpt vulnerability before their kids. Strangs as it may sound. But . . . I am still thinking . . .
more to come if i can get my thoughts in order . . .
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