Beyond “Stop it!”…Making Disciples

Discipline. It’s not an easy job.

When frustrations rise & the same issues need to be addressed, sometimes all you want to do is yell, “STOP IT!!!!”.

From my experience “stop it” only goes so far. After the big eyes and shocked expressions fade, the misbehavior begins again. Nothing was learned. No training occurred.

From the word “discipline”, comes the word “disciple”. We are commanded in the Bible to “go & make disciples”. Therefore, if I am going to obey God, then disciplining my children doesn’t mean just getting them to behave. I need to focus on training them to be disciples. Help them want to follow Jesus, not to just make their mom happy.

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Often misbehavior needs to be addressed immediately and there is not a lot of time to go research what a good Biblical response would be in this situation. Also, you will find there are certain behaviors that are common to one child or that are being corrected repeatedly. This is when it is helpful to have a group of “Biblical corrective phrases” to use in the discipline process.

Next time you want to yell “STOP IT!!”, stop yourself and think:

  • What is frustrating me about this situation?
  • What is the character flaw being demonstrated?
  • What behavior would I like to see instead?
  • Was there something that happened in the environment or from a sibling that stimulated the misbehavior?

Continue to note over a couple of days what patterns of misbehavior you are observing. Chose one area of character you would like to develop (for each child). Go to your Bible and in the back should be a topical concordance (if not look online). Look up the character quality you are wanting to prayerfully develop in your child and see what the Bible says regarding that quality.

I’ve found in the 6 years I’ve been parenting that there are a few “Biblical corrective phrases” I repeat often in the discipline process:

  • “A gentle answer turns away wrath, harsh words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
  • “In your anger do not sin” (Ephesians 4:25)
  • “Have a grateful heart”
  • “Be patient.” {“bearing with one another in love”} (Ephesians 4:2)
  • “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right (Ephesians 5:1)…I want things to go well for you.”
  • “Are your words helpful or hurtful?” (Ephesians 4:29)
  • “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Philippians 2:14)
  • “Honor your brother. Treat him special. Do more than what’s expected.”

As I was looking up the sources for the above “phrases of correction”, I found the following that may be helpful. Try simplifying the phrase to something easy to remember and repeat.:

  • “Serve wholeheartedly as if serving the Lord not men.” (Eph 6:7)
  • “Speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” (Eph4:25)
  • “Listen to advice & accept instruction & in the end you will be wise.” (Prov 19:20)
  • “Be kind & compassionate, forgiving each other as Christ forgave you.” (Eph 4:32)

What phrases do you use frequently? Share them in the comments so we can learn from one another.

**Note: Training a child’s heart takes a lot of love, patience & grace. Quoting a piece of scripture from the Bible is not going to change a child’s heart. We need to be modeling grace. We need to understand our own need for a Savior. We need to be addressing our own hearts during the training and discipline process.

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