Sometimes we just need a list! Here is helpful pragmatic list for us overwhelmed parents and confused kids — regardless of age — from the late Dr. Jack Miller.
The goal of discipline is to build character so he (the child) can have internal controls. This world is disorderly and has a lot of pain in it. If you decide you are going to avoid suffering and pain for yourself and for your children then you are going to have trouble. Life has conflict and struggle, and the goal . . . is to help you with your children to live in this world with courage and authority.
TWO PRINCIPLES IN THE NURTURING OF CHILDREN
- Be a friend to your children; work on the love connection. Watch your words — especially words that imply rejection. We are are any at their behavior we tend to blow up or put on the deep freeze.
- Set and a few rules and stick by them:
a. everyone eat together
b. everyone works
c. everyone shows courtesy
d. don’t threaten
BEING A FRIEND
- Example from Proverbs 1, 2, 3, 4. The desire of the parent is to have the child’s hart. Work on being a friend to your child.
- Give him quality time where he knows you have his undivided attention. Learn to listen.
- Learn to ask questions on the basis of the listening. Give him space to expressing himself without judging him.
- Accept them as they are, build the foundation of the law and gospel for them.
- Interpret yourself to your children. Explain to them how you think. Be understandable.
- Work with the child’s sense of right and wrong.
- Instruct the child, so the child knows the guidelines and boundaries. Too many rules are confusing, but must have boundaries.
- Admonish the child when he has disobeyed.
- Express astonishment at this attitude or misbehavior. You are here taking seriously his sin, and your astonishment works on his conscience.
- Physical discipline — spanking, in the corner, depriving of something he likes.
- Final and most serious phase is banishment from his presence. This will not be very effective if you haven’t build a friendship.
- Should always be carried out in the framework of forgiveness. Discipline is not over until stiffness is gone in the child.
- Be careful you don’t project from your body language that you have not forgiven.
Parents today have a lot of fears about discipline, because they don’t know what the heart of it is. There is so much written and so much knowledge that it can be overwhelming.
It isn’t complication. You love your child and you ask him to love you in return.
Our tendency is to discipline them when they annoy us. As early as you can work on establishing this bond of friendship. The child should pick up at an early age that what delights you is to have them please you. Interpret to them that you are trying to please God.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR CHILDREN DO NOT RESPOND
- Keep your own spirit free from bitterness.
- Keep seeing reconciliation with the child.
- Keep on with discipline.
- Check the child for hunger, illness and tiredness.
- Watch out for bitterness in the child.
- Pursue honesty — let the child know what you think of their behavior.
BELIEVE THE GOSPEL
- God is for you and your children.
- He is building the house.
- The promise is for you and for your children. The promise is that He will be a God to
- you and to your seed after you.
- Lead them always to Christ, as you yourself go to Christ.
- It works by prayer. You are not alone.
GOSPEL ORIENTED HOME
- Faith in God’s promises to feed and clothe my family
- Faith in God’s promise to save my children as the gospel is presented to them.
- Free to accept the child the way he is and faith to believe the Spirit will bring the changes needed.
- Remember that discipline through important and necessary does not take away sins, but is God’s way of dealing with the conscience
- Free to give praise, appreciation and approval
- Free to ask for forgiveness and free to give it
- Willing to accept failure
- Trusting in the Holy Spirit to work on root problems
- Knowing that grace enables me to teach my children
- Suffering and discipline are God’s means of grace for shaping the child’s conscience and character
A FEW ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS (added by one of Jack’s daughters)
- Friendship means: I am on your side, I am for you. I’m going to explain and interpret myself, my actions, and what I know of God and obedience to you.
- Friendship does not mean that I do things your way, but we do things God’s way. God’s way is to teach the children His Word, and especially to honor their parents.
- My children are my sheep, and I am to feed them, nurture them. This means I must get the Word of God digestible for them to understand.
- Nurturing is a two-way trace . . . Friendship and authority.
- If you do not consistently discipline then you won’t feel like working on the friendship.Children need your support and they also need to be held accountable.
- If you haven’t been nurturing and disciplining your children, . . . then you can apologize to them, asking for forgiveness, and explaining that you are now going to be different.
LIVING UNDER LAW
- My actions or things I do will make people like me
- This brings a preoccupation with self
- Fosters an independent spirit
- Will always be critical and judgmental
- Expectations high of performance — of self and others
- Fears and anxieties control the life
- Needs strength in ourselves to complete the task
- Doesn’t know how to love
- Doesn’t know how to forgive
- Doesn’t know how to bring others to Christ because he doesn’t know how to bring himself to Christ.
- Has lost confidence in Christ’s ability to bridge the gap between God’s demands and man’s sinfulness.
- Sees his worth by what he is doing
LIVING UNDER GRACE
- Believers there is no goodness in him to perform a single act of obedience without the power of the Spirit.
- Believes his sins are forgiven and can then forgive others.
- Accepts his position as a son without condemnation.
- Knows the power of the flesh if given into will bring internal connect and conflict with others.
- Believes he now has the Spirit’s power to love his neighbor.
- Understands there is a warfare with the flesh, the world and the devil, but they are not greater than Christ.
- Believes his life is under God’s sovereign control and that His will is good, acceptable and perfect.
- Is learning to go to his Heavenly Father in prayer to settle his problems and to have his needs met.
Taken from Jack Miller, “Creative Discipline in a Disorderly World” (unpublished), August 1985, p. 1-3, and 14.
The Gospel IS THE POWER OF GOD for Worship, Missions and Renewal
Who is your master, money or God? How would you know? If you were about to lose everything that gave you comfort, significance and security, what would you do to maintain your lifestyle?