Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don't, you will ruin their lives. (Proverbs 19:18, NLT)
Consistent discipline is one of the most crucial yet challenging aspects of parenting. None of us develops character overnight. It takes years of consistent teaching and discipline in order to train up our children in the way they should go. Just as I am a work in progress, so are my children. We must ask the Lord for wisdom, patience, energy and endurance in order to consistently discipline our children well. Our children learn early on exactly how to push our buttons, manipulate and wear us down. In those tough and tiring moments, think of the type of person you want your child to be when they are older and let that motivate you to diligently press on. Discipline with the future in mind. Often, it can take years before you actually start to see the fruit of all of your hard work in disciplining children. Don't give up! Hang in there; be consistent. Although discipline may be difficult for both you and your child in the moment, God's word tells us that we are doing our children a huge disservice when we do not discipline.
Each child and each situation is unique. There have been many times as a mom when I honestly did not know how to best discipline one of my children in a certain situation. I learned to ask the Lord and listen for His direction in those moments. He knows the heart of each of our children better than we ever will. He knows exactly what they need at any given moment. Remember that your child's outward behavior is really an overflow and indicator of the condition of their inward heart. At the end of the day, it is the Lord who changes hearts and draws our children to Himself, but the Bible is clear that parents have the responsibility of consistently disciplining their children nonetheless. Ask God daily to purify and shape your child's heart as you consistently do your part to teach, train and discipline.
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