Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No, Mom! Parenting No-No's

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As parents, saying "no" is part of our job description. Sometimes it can be downright funny how many times a day a mother of little ones ends up saying "no." When my children were little, one of our favorite read-aloud books was No, David! by author David Shannon. The book shows a little boy, David, doing mischievous things that earn him the reprimand of "No, David," from his mom. It was especially fun to read because I have a David! We could definitely relate!

When it comes to the job of disciplining our kids, however, there are several times when we parents may need to adhere to a few "no's."

No, Mom! Don’t involve other people. Not salespeople, in-laws, neighbors, or friends. The best way to avoid involving others is to keep discipline matters private, between you and your child. That means that even in a public place, or whenever you are away from home, you find a private way to conduct the business of discipline.

No, Mom! Don’t waffle. When your child asks for permission to do something, give her either a “yes” or a “no.” If you need time to think about it, just say so. But don’t say, “We’ll see,” if you really mean, “No way.” And once you've made a decision, don't allow your child to wear you down into making a different one.

No, Mom! Don’t make idle threats. This includes threatening to call the police, your pastor, or your husband. :) It means you don't threaten to keep your child home from spending the night at Grandma's when you have dinner and a show planned. Don’t try to deceive your child. You will end up eating humble pie when he calls your bluff.

No, Mom! Don’t bribe your child into obedience. Doing the right thing doesn't always come with an immediate reward. Children must be taught to do the right thing because it pleases God and brings Him glory. God's love for us doesn't change, no matter our behavior. However, our behavior is often a gauge of our love for Him. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15). If you always offer a reward for good behavior, what happens when you don't have anything to offer?

Disciplining your child now prepares him for the time that will come when he is disciplined by the Lord. The time will come (and it comes before you know it, believe me) when your child is on his own before the Lord. When the Lord has something for him to do, don't you want him to obey the first time? Don't you want him to obey joyfully? Don't you want him to obey without arguing? And don't you want him to obey just because he knows that doing so pleases God and brings glory to the Name of Christ?

Set the example, Mom. Set the example!

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