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
Pray with them
Tell them how much you love them and how much God loves them
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).