|Biblical Parenting Tip|
AN IMMEDIATE Follow Through
A valuable tool in the discipline process is an Immediate Follow Through. Immediate is an important word here. Immediate Follow Through teaches children to obey quickly. Delayed follow through gives children an ambiguous message. We’re not suggesting that you become overly authoritarian in your approach with children. Many times what kids need is just love and encouragement, but when you see that children need correction, it’s important to do it clearly in order to maximize the learning experience.
What kinds of consequences do you use? We believe that the most effective parenting takes place when parents have a toolbox full of consequences and don’t only rely on just one. After all, different consequences work better with some children than they do with others. In fact, one consequence may work better with a child at one time than it will with the same child at another.
It’s best to have a variety of consequences to choose from rather than always relying on the same consequence for every situation. This requires planning and consideration, two commodities that aren’t always available at the heat of the moment. The fact is, however, that many of the offenses our children experience are repeat offenses. This means that you can plan now for the next time this problem reveals itself.
Taking away privileges, giving more work or assignments, taking a break, asking for an apology, or missing out on an activity or event are just a few things to help you get started. Remember that the goal is to help children change their hearts. Look for consequences that bring about that change, not just consequences that make children serve a sentence for a “crime” committed.
Heart-based parenting requires work, more work than we ever imagined. Regularly pray for your children and ask God to give you wisdom about correction. Pray that God will change your child’s heart. That is really the key. God uses us, as parents, as tools in our children’s lives but he is ultimately the one who changes the heart.
For more ideas about discipline strategies and to develop your Toolbox of Consequences, consider the Parenting is Heart Work Training Manual