May (he) walk after You, God, and fear You and keep Your commandments and obey Your voice. May he serve You and hold fast to You (Deuteronomy 13:4).
“No.” he stated defiantly.
When I repeated my request for him to share his crayons with his younger brothers, the “Noooo” was repeated as a battle cry and the crayons were flung across the room. Now his two younger brothers were crying, and I was one frustrated mama.
This isn’t an unusual scenario. No, it’s all too familiar. I’ve often wondered why obedience is so difficult for him when his brothers seem to understand. Where have I failed him as a parent?
Like my son, I’m stubborn. I must get to my wit’s end before I’m driven to prayer—where I ask, “What God, should I do? How do I deal with this young man?”
Praying for an Obedient Spirit
As my husband and I each continued to come up against a brick wall with our son, all of our discipline seemingly for naught, we finally were driven to prayer and searching the Bible. We were driven to seek out wise counsel.
We learned that God doesn’t instantly change our children just because we want him to. Like many things in life, we often learn much about ourselves through prayer. We learn how we need to change; we learn how we need to grow.
Once upon a time, I thought I knew the way to discipline. It seemed to work quite well with my oldest son. I would proudly say, “I won’t ever have a child that acts like that.” Famous last words, right?
It wasn’t long after I uttered those dreadful words, that I realized the child who acts like that, was mine. Oy.
We are not all the same. God does not dole out discipline to his people in exactly the same manner. The Lord sent the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years after their incessant grumbling, complaining, and lack of faith. Jesus reproached Peter for his violence with a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane with a harsh rebuke.
God knows his children. He disciplines them the way they need to be disciplined—in a way that will bring about repentance. What an eye-opener.
My husband and I began to ask ourselves:
- If God uses various methods to discipline us, should we begin to think about more effective ways of disciplining our son for his disobedience?
- Does the way I discipline bring about a spirit of repentance and sorrow, or does it create rage?
- What do we want the end result of discipline to be? Simply physical obedience? No. We desire our boys to have a humble and submissive spirit of obedience, ready to obey his parents and God.
We began to realize the way we were disciplining our son, the way we thought was the only way to do it, was in fact driving a wedge between us and our son. It was inciting him to anger. He wasn’t receptive to our training. We’ve had to begin observing how different types of discipline impacts our child. We’ve had to get creative with our discipline.
Disciplining in this manner may be more labor intensive, but it’s worth it in the end.
Through seeking God’s will in this issue, we have begun to make progress. As we deal with outbursts of anger and defiance in a more God-honoring way, we are beginning to see changes in our son.
- His spirit has begun to soften.
- He is more receptive to our instruction.
- We are dealing with the outbursts of anger and disobedience much more infrequently.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
How can you foster a spirit of obedience? Do you need to ask God to help you get creative?
Throughout the day, pray the ten scripture prayers found at the end of the Obedient Spirit chapter!
Trisha is the happy wife to Luke and homeschooling mom to four boys. She enjoys blogging, creating homeschool resources, and resources to help families raise godly families with her husband at IntoxicatedOnLife.com. Stop by for free access to their growing library of resources!
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My first round of children, I did discipline differently each child. One, I only had to say something firmly and instant repentance. The other one, well, that took much more persistence, and even though I had a plan, I still would get frustrated. They were almost 5 years apart.
Now with both boys being so close in age, 11-1/2 months apart and both being super strong willed, I am finding that when I am having to discipline both of them at almost the same time, I am using a blanket discipline because I am finding them both disobeying at the same time. I will have to do some seeking how to reach both of their hearts, and discipline according to their bent. More deliberate, and less out of frustration for the constant whirl of action and feeling like I am under water.
This is a much needed prayer for me! I have three boys and the 9yo is impossible to discipline. He is not motivated by ANYTHING. Loss of privileges, screen time, toys, etc, he just does not care. I have come to the point of just demanding physical obedience but I know in his heart he is just growing more defiant and resentful. He has even started this with his teacher at school. I don’t know what else to do!
One thing I keep central in my job as a parent is the difference between listening and obedience. My son is not quite 2 so the act of him obeying doesn’t happen on huge levels. When I ask him to do something, like brush his teeth, and he doesn’t I make sure first that he heard me and was listening to me. I then figure out if he hasn’t obeyed my request. I’ve saved myself a lot of frustration by doing this. We often make statements about people not listening to us when what we really mean is they aren’t obeying. I practice gentle parenting and gentle discipline, physical punishment isn’t practiced in my home and I give my son respect, even so young, to model how he is expected to respect me. My son his strong willed and stubborn and I know we’ll have our battles and discipline will be tailored specifically to him and his personality. I’ve learned it’s effective to discipline and foster obedience based on someone’s personality type as introverts and extroverts are complete opposites. I think allowing my son, as he grows and is able, to use his free will is important, however at the end of the day what Mama says is what happens. I pray each morning for patience and guidance in raising my son in hopes he will be obedient.
I remember telling my husband when my oldest son was little, “honey, I just think it’s going to take longer with him.” Little did I know my youngest son would come along 23 months later and blow his stubbornness right out of the water. Seven years later and some days I still wonder when it’s going to click for him. BUT, God has used his disobedience to teach me about my own, and keep me desperate for God’s voice and direction in life.
Really, the entire MOB Society (for me at least, I can’t speak for Erin) was founded upon my desperation with my boys. So yesterday, I thanked them both for inspiring this community. It’s their story as much as it is mine.
You just never know how God will use the challenging circumstances in your life. Press in mamas!
Tho in my mind I know that my 2 1/2 & 4 1/2 are completely different I still tend to repeat “the first one didn’t do that, didn’t do this etc..” I try to stop myself and then I start wandering what am I doing wrong, why can’t the littler one listen and not do this, that and so forth. I find myself losing patience more often and getting frustrated to a point of not knowing what or how to pray. Tho feeling alone at times this blog and the book to go along with it has helped me realize I’m not alone at all!!
I am the mother of 4 sons. I am at a different stage of life & relationship with them due to the fact 3 out of 4 of mine are grown. One thing I would like to add is being strong willed (in my case all of mine) proved to be a positive attribute as they grew older. It serves them well in the adult world. They are not easily swayed by public opinion or fad ways. Yes, I did work hard on helping them control their tempers & strong willed ways but God knew the men he was creating them to be. Although not perfect mine have used their personalities well in the grown up world.
It is amazing how different each child can be. I am a mother of 4, 3 GIRLS!!! And my son. My first born was so easy and I thought I had this parenting this under control, then my son was born, holy moly!! He was “that child”, the one you hoped you would never have. As we approached school, I remember thinking what is wrong with him? How come he can’t just do things like his sister? After all they are related:) Here we are 13/11 years later and I am learning so much how each one of my children is different and that discipline for one doesn’t always work for the other. I am always looking for new and creative ways to discipline, I pray the Lord would lead me to be the mom he wants me to be. Let me be honest, I don’t want to be my mother…
Can you share some of your creative discipline techniques?
This exactly my struggle with my 2nd son. Just yesterday my husband and I had a discussion as to how we are going to handle the situation because it was obvious that the way we were going about it wasn’t working. It’s only day 2 of the prayer challenge and God has already begun to direct me on how to pray and how to take better measures with my boys. Thank you for sharing your heart with us moms. God Bless
wow, I feel like the way I have been disciplining has had the same negative effect!! Please…what are some of your creative, God-honoring discipline techniques?
We have three boys (the youngest is only six months and he just doesn’t like to sleep…) our three year old and almost five year old are booooooooooooys. They roughhouse, the play hunters/cowboys/wrestlers/bad guys…etc. They feed off of each; they can be best friends one minute and then mortal enemies the next. I have a closet full of toys that they lost because I got tired of picking them up and they simply did not want to one night. THEY DON’T CARE. Time outs, extra quiet time, no treats, no special adventures. Spankings…not out of anger. Nothing works! Phase? My kids? Always nice to know we aren’t alone but sometimes I wish they would take a break. They are young and we are all working on it, but this mama needs a nap!