Recently, Bob and I attended a parenting conference at Coram Deo church in Omaha. Many inspiring and helpful tools were given, but a few really stuck out to us. I'll do my best to relay what we found helpful in four posts:
1. Training vs. Disciplining
2. If you only do one thing...
2. Building a family culture
3. Family liturgy
The first is understanding the difference between training and discipline.
I don't know about you, but this can be murky water for me. I thought I knew the difference, but I found I'd been emphasizing discipline, leaving training as merely the by product to my disciplining. Oh, what I was missing!
Before I get into training and what that means, let's define discipline and punishment.
Discipline is corrective- it seeks to accomplish change in the one discplined.
Punishment is retributive- it is merely the meting out of justice.
It's also helpful to establish that a lack of proper instruction is often at the heart of discipline problems- your children must know what to expect.
Now, here are some tips and reasons why training your children should be at the forefront of your parenting.
If you train well, you'll discipline less.
-To train is to set clear expectations and clear consequences. Training a behavior may take an intense three days (ie: potty training), but then it gets easier. It's simply a season, rather than constant discipline.
Training creates a fair system in your house.
-Children are less likely to fear emotional reactions, because they know what to expect.
If you're always reacting to behaviors it eliminates the chance to proactively train.
Obedience in public allows your children to be a blessing to others
-Set clear boundaries when you go to someone's house (i.e: no running, yelling).
-This also allows you to be hospitable in your home.
Pick one training objective to work on at a time.
ie: Staying in your seat until you're excused from dinner.
Here are some tips and tid-bits on biblical discipline. Notice I said biblical.
Biblical discipline is aimed at the heart.
-This is what sets apart biblical discipline from all other models- we are not simply after behavior modification.
-The law (set of rules) leads to repentance. Around 5-6yrs a child begins to realize they can't obey perfectly, which is why they need Jesus' help. Around this time you can begin discussing the 'why' behind behavior and discipline.
-God defines love, not our culture. We are loving them well by expecting obedience.
Biblical discipline is a rescue mission.
-We are God's ordained authorities to root out foolishness, and bring our children face to face with the folly of their hearts.
"Becoming more like Jesus is also about becoming submissive."
-Jesus submitted himself to the greater cause, our redemption. We need our children to understand submission so they not only know their place in the redemption story, but so they are productive and beneficial contributors to society.
Understanding the difference between training and discipline has been quite helpful for me. I hope it is for you too!