The MOB Society

Discipline That Leads to Reconciliation

Creative ConsequencesJessica ThompsonComment

Minister of Anger

We sat silently in the bedroom, each one of us wondering who would take the first step towards the other. As the parent, I know this is my job. I am to be the one who leads in repentance. I am to be the one who leads in restoring relationship. And yet. And yet, my heart was hard, my feelings were hurt, my pride trounced, my anger in full display. And yet. And yet, his hand reached for mine. His words of repentance preceded and led my own. I’ve heard it said “the the first one to the cross is the one who wins” — that is, the one who initiates reconciliation will experience the peace of repentance and forgiveness first. I believe that. And yet. And yet, so often, I am the one that wants to stay angry. I am the one who wants to prove a point. I am the one who thinks that just a little extra dose of mama anger will solidify the shame he feels and will give me the peace I need to believe he will never do THAT again. I deal in the currency of regret, and he needed to pay.

Jesus our Reconciler

We were His enemies. We hated Him. We were opposed to all He loved and did the exact opposite of everything He asked. And yet. And yet, “in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18) And yet, He didn’t count all of our blundering against us. And yet, He continues to pursue us. Now we are entrusted with this glorious message of reconciliation.

Ministers of Reconciliation

We are the ones who now communicate the reconciliation that can be found in Christ. This remarkably counterintuitive message of reconciliation is ours to pass on to our boys. And yet. And yet, so often I don’t think of discipline as a way to reconcile. But God still decided He isn’t going to count that sin against me.

So now. So now, I pray that the Holy Spirit helps me to look at every time I need to discipline my boys as a way to walk out my calling as a reconciler. That I would point to the cross as the way God has reconciled us to Himself. That my goal would always be to bring my boys close, instead of pushing them away to protect myself or to manipulate them into change. You see, it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. It is His drawing us in when we least deserve it that makes us want to fall into our Heavenly Father’s arms and rest and obey. Reconciling means that all the obstacles that stopped relationship are now defeated by love. As we dwell in how we have been reconciled to our great and holy God, may we learn to love as those who have been loved. May we learn to forgive as those who have been so fully and freely forgiven. And may we lead our boys in reconciliation. May reconciliation be the point of all our discipline, because reconciliation was the point of the cross.


The 2015 Ultimate Gift Guide for Boys

Alle McCloskeyComment


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When Sibling Rivalry Is Out Of Control!

Creative ConsequencesJenny Lee SulpizioComment

I am that mom.

You know the kind—the mom with kids who always misbehave, act out, and engage in public tantrums. Whether it’s Costco, the doctor’s office, or an outing at the park, my boys are always fighting, always getting into trouble, and yes, always causing a scene. Oftentimes, I’m the recipient of nasty looks as well as plenty of (unwanted) advice as my children’s public acts of defiance irk others to the point of disgust. Know what else? I’m completely worn out from the amount of refereeing and mediation required by my kiddos on a daily basis. After all, I’ve read every article on sibling rivalry (more than once), and I’ve pinned every self-help post I could find on how to get my kids to like one another…to act civil…to behave!

Guess what? None of them have worked.

It’s no secret that as a mom of three, I crave peace within my home. In fact, I desire it above all else. I want my children to love and genuinely care for one another. I mean, how hard is it to behave, anyway? How difficult can it be to refrain from poking one’s brother in the arm, the eye, or head? How hard is it to close one’s mouth and resist spewing hateful words toward another in the same household? And please tell me, why is it so difficult to cease banging on the bathroom door incessantly until the child using the restroom is finished? These things seem like common sense to my adult mind. These are no-brainers as far as I’m concerned. But for a child? It’s a completely different ball game. We know this to be true and those of us with siblings can remember the battles we once waged on one another, as our immature minds couldn’t yet grasp the idea of conflict resolution. And so we did what worked: we yelled, we hit, we pulled hair, and we annoyed the heck out of each other, much to our parents’ dismay.

Honestly, this sort of negative behavior between our children shouldn’t come as a surprise, should it? It’s to be expected, right? But it still begs the question, what’s a mom to do when everything she’s tried to keep peace within her home hasn’t worked? How is she supposed to react when sibling rivalry threatens to destroy her family and any sanity she hopes to maintain? And how is she supposed to deal when she’s at her wits’ end, fed up and worn out from all the bickering?

1.     Pray

I have literally begged God to intervene on my behalf every single day (and in every single way) on this journey of motherhood. As my kids have grown and the fights lessen over whose hair got pulled, and are more about whose Legos are whose, I’ve asked Him to become the still, small voice they need to hear (and obey!) in those moments of anger and hostility. I’ve asked Him to give me more patience with my kids, and to help me honor Him in my discipline of them.

2.     Family Devotions

More God and less television. Start each morning off right by enlisting the help of a family devotional (Jesus Calling for Kids is my fave). Read the Word. Show them Jesus in your actions. Teach them how Christ chose to love others—even when it was hard, even when it meant loving others at their worst.  

3.     Reward the good.

Poor behavior is not okay. Ever. So, if I’m out with my brood and one of them chooses to misbehave, they’re not going to get rewarded. For example, I love froyo. Like, love-love. I hit up froyo shops with my kids as often as I can. However, if one of them chooses to misbehave or act rudely toward a sibling, that child loses froyo privileges. They miss out. Sure, they may groan, they may cry, gnash their teeth, etc., but my kiddos need to learn that mean guys finish last…and mean guys certainly don’t get froyo.

4.     Stay the Course

One of the hardest things I’ve dealt as a mom is this fighting that takes place between my children. It’s enough to send me over that proverbial edge, if you know what I mean. I’ve got three children with three different personalities, likes and dislikes, and it’s hard. Really hard. But mastering conflict resolution is an important tool, not only for our children, but for our families as a whole. Trust, try, and hold firm. Stay consistent with your discipline. Work with one another and as a team. Pray for God’s wisdom..


Discipleship Before Discipline

Creative ConsequencesWendy SpeakeComment

There’s a holy order to growing up in Christ, and there’s an order to our children growing up, too. It’s not as elusive as it seems on most long parenting days. It’s actually quite simple.

First we disciple them, then we layer in discipline, and finally we pull back our need to discipline as they grow in self-discipline.




When my first-born was a toddler, and his baby brother napped in a bassinet nearby, we would draw together, talk together, read together, be together. We memorized Scripture songs and prayed for our loved ones, filled sticker books, laid out the tracks for Thomas the Tank Engine, made cookies for neighbors, and often walked the mile to our local church. And everywhere we went, every time we sat down, each nap-time as we laid down and rose up again, I discipled my child.

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9


Our children are our dearest disciples. They follow our example, parrot our words, copy our expressions, and learn of our family values. We speak tenderly into their lives as they drift off to sleep, and remind them what is true with gentle tones when they do what is wrong. During these little boy years, when every lesson requires us to get down on their level and look into their eyes, we must remember that we are raising disciples: our disciples when they are young, but God’s disciples when the Holy Spirit calls them to faith.


As the years went by and my eldest son began playing with his baby brother and this Mama swelled with a third little boy, my child began purposefully testing the waters of right and wrong. Defiantly exclaiming, “No!”,  running from me when it was time to leave the park, screaming over two books at bedtime instead of three. Where there had once been compliance, I now found a strong will, iron fists, and determined glares. Though my natural reaction was to fight back, I learned that I could not let my son’s change change me. My job was still the same.

The key is remembering that disobedience is a natural part of their growing up process—even if he’s been a wonderful little disciple. Finding where the boundaries lie, where their power lies, where mom’s “no” lies too, is all part of their job. They push to find themselves, but we must not push back or we might lose ourselves.

This season of willful disobedience heralds the start of our next parenting stage. This is when discipleship transitions to grace-based discipline. We love them, and so it is with the same gentle strength we remind them of what they already know to be true. Whether you use natural consequences or time-out chairs, the point is that there is a time and a place for discipline. And that time and place comes after you have already discipled them.

If discipleship is teaching a little person right from wrong, then discipline is reminding them what they already know is true. They have to first know these things first before we can start disciplining them for doing wrong. Doesn’t it seem backwards to discipline a toddler for doing something wrong if it’s never been talked about first? Discipleship is talking about it.  


With consistency, a day will come when we won’t need to discipline them to the same degree any longer. They will have learned self-discipline. They will have learned how to turn the video game off after 30 minutes and get to work without you nagging or threatening. They will have learned to get up in the morning and pack their bag for school, to call when they’re going to be late, and ask for forgiveness when they’ve done wrong.

This is the natural progression of growing up. And it’s how the Father grows us up, too. Walking with us and talking with us, through His ever-present Holy Spirit, then teaching us through natural consequences when we’ve been willful. Eventually we grow up to bear the fruit of self-control, of self-discipline.

Here at the end of this short parenting post, I want to point you back to the gentle way God has continued to grow you up; to disciple you; to discipline and refine you; that you might walk in self-disciplined maturity. Let’s follow His example with our own children.

Going Deeper

If making the transition between grace-based discipleship and grace-based discipline feels impossibly hard when your little one is pushing every boundary all day long, here are two additional resources to help you drop the gloves and not engage in the tug-of-war. Remember, they’re just doing their job, so must keep doing ours.

Pointing Our Boys To Truth During Discipline

Creative ConsequencesMonica LeighComment

Discipline can be a hot-button issue, among unbelievers and believers alike. There are methods that some people swear by and methods that others find too harsh. Wherever you find yourself on the scale, I think it’s good to look at the points that most of us can agree on:

1. Discipline is a necessary part of parenting.

2. It’s not easy.

3. Behavior changes begin with heart changes.

I want to take a closer look at number 3. Our boys’ behavior is a good indicator of what is going on in their hearts. What they struggle with, what they idolize, and the areas where they desperately need prayer and discipline. 

“For out of the overflow of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45b

If we want to see change in our boys’ hearts, we must point them to the only One who can cause that change. After disciplining our boys, we always pray with them and share a verse that pertains to the issue they are struggling with. We do that to shed light on what the Lord says about it, and because we know that the Word of the Lord is alive and sharper than any double edge sword (Hebrews 4:12). His words can invoke change, conviction, and repentance. His words can probe a heart in ways even the best parenting lecture can’t do. 

My sweet friend gave me an incredible chart that we have found incredibly helpful, called, “Wise Words for Moms” by Ginger Hubbard. One column contains a list of bad behaviors; another column has a list of heart-probing questions for your children; the third column shares what Scripture says about the bad behavior: and the fourth column shares the Scripture verse of the attribute we should “put on” instead. This amazing chart makes it easy for parents to teach their children how to search their own hearts and get to the root of the bad behavior, and it gives them the hope of change that is only found in the Lord. I cannot recommend this chart enough! Praying with you, sweet moms, as we navigate motherhood and discipline.

How to point your boys to truth during discipline

  1. Pray with them

  2. Tell them how much you love them and how much God loves them

  3. Share a verse with them that pertains to the bad behavior (such as “Do everything without complaining and arguing” Philippians 2:14)  and then share a verse that demonstrates how they should behave instead. ( “In everything give thanks.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18).


Also, check out the wise words for moms App!