Sunday, January 1, 2017

Positive Only Parenting

“Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” Proverbs 23:14

When kids don’t get spanked, it shows in their behavior, but the stakes are a lot higher than just the embarrassment this causes. Children raised without any real consequences will have a hard time understanding the reality of hell. It’s bad enough that people aren’t spanking their children, but there’s a school of thought out there that says not to discipline them at all.

Several years ago, some friends of mine were looking into a parent participation preschool for their daughter. The pre-school taught phonics, so people wanted the low-cost education and a couple of hours of babysitting, but there were a few requirements to get into the program. One of those requirements was that you had to attend parenting classes taught by the preschool director, “Miss Mary Beth.”

Mary Beth taught that you should never even say no to children, and she gave an example scenario. She said that if one child throws sand in another child’s face we don’t tell them they’ve done something wrong. Instead, we just say, “Let’s try that again and see what we could have done differently.” My friends were shocked at the lack of common sense from this woman who was revered by some of the other parents as some kind of childcare guru. The Mary Beth mentality has led to a generation that cannot be corrected.

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” Proverbs 23:13

Not only are parents withholding correction, but they are compounding that error by lavishing their children with unwarranted praise. We live in a day where people are giving children affirmation whether they do well or not. You go out in public and you hear these parents saying, “Good job, good job,” and you’re scratching your head wondering what the child did that was so great. Praising your children is part of being a loving parent but will mean more when it is reserved for times when they do something special or something without being told.

“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." - Luke 17:7-10

Thanking kids when they hand you something models common courtesy and gets them into the habit of saying thank you themselves, but don’t thank them for brushing their teeth or taking out the trash. People have gotten into the habit of thanking their children for just basic obedience. Conforming to a society that hands out participation trophies and overlooks inappropriate behavior is detrimental to our children’s development because the Bible teaches that we ought to be the kind of people that can handle criticism.

“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Proverbs 9:8

When children are constantly affirmed, they grow up unprepared for the real world, and they certainly aren’t prepared to come to church and hear hard preaching. Stop thanking your children for obeying you. When they express foolish things, don’t ignore that. The Bible says “correct thy son.” Spank them like the Bible says, and if you are homeschooling them, it’s okay to tell them they failed an assignment. Instead of praising them for the minimal effort they put in, have them do it over again and get it right.

Here is a sermon to go with this article

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