“Bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4b
The Apostle Paul encourages parents to bring their children up in the instruction of the Lord. That word, instruction, is made up of two Greek words – the noun “mind” and the verb “to place.” It literally means, “to place before the mind.” It is usually translated “warning” or “admonition.” If you are warning or admonishing someone you are correcting or disciplining him. In other words, part of instruction is correction.
Suffice it to say it is much more fun to direct children to do what is right than to correct them when they do what is wrong; but both are necessary. There are two things I would encourage you to remember about discipline when it is necessary: 1) Make sure the punishment fits the crime; and 2) Make sure the crime deserves punishment.
It is vitally important that when you discipline a child, no matter the age of that child, he/she understands why you are doing it. You should always refer to exactly what the child did wrong. Help your child to understand that the discipline is not something you are doing to him, but for him. A good thing to say is, “I love you too much to let you behave like that or get away with that.”
I encourage you to remember that the purpose of discipline is to encourage your children towards godliness. Discipline is intended not just to punish them for doing wrong, but to encourage them to do what is right. Not every hill is worth dying on. Always make sure that you choose your battles wisely. Fight only those worth fighting, and when you fight them do it in a way that ultimately encourages your children instead of discouraging them.
Application: Are you correcting your children with encouragement?