Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Joyful Home-Part 8

Thinking Right at the Start

This could be read as thinking correctly from the beginning, which would be good, or simply as thinking from the beginning, which would also be good. Failing to think and plan about what you are doing and why are you doing it is a great problem. Many people do not even think about raising their children until they get into a crisis. A crisis of first time discipline from an 18-month old, or worse, the potentially rebellious teen years for poorly brought up children. Put it off and you'll be sorry. Use a worldly or even an abdicating methodology and you will also be sorry. So, it is good to think right at the beginning but it is better to think right at the beginning.

A home that is harsh cannot expect to produce lovely, happy, well-disciplined children. A harsh home, read father and mother, may get compliance but compliance is not the same thing as discipline. Forced compliance is not discipline. Discipline produces responsibility. Forced compliance often produces the opposite, that is, rebellion. To be sure, much of discipline, especially in the earliest stages, is not much more than forced compliance. You are bigger than they are. Make them obey. But the entire task of disciplining children is to turn them over to a godly self-discipline. The goal is to not have to force them anymore because they earnestly desire to do what is right on their own.

This is important to get at the beginning. Many parents hardly discipline at all when the children are very small, letting them do whatever they want. Then, when they enter their teens, the children act out and the parents start to clamp down until the older teenager is not allowed to do anything without having to give a detailed account. If they disobey, they are then grounded where mom or dad watches over every move and there is virtually no freedom. This is EXACTLY the opposite of what you want to have happen.

Think about it. What you want is for very little children, say under age three, to live in a totalitarian police state. Nearly all of their actions and decisions are centrally governed by queen mother and king father. But as soon as they are able to start making decisions, preferably good ones, then there needs to be an increasing amount of freedom. If you do this right, your seventeen year old ought to have little or no rules, because she is or is very nearly an adult. Rather than what many parents do, which is to throw every conceivable rule at her just at the time when she is expecting independence. Is there any wonder that this methodology causes stark rebellion?

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