DISCIPLINE MISTAKE #1

Patricia and I looked at one another and asked, “What are we doing wrong?” I know what some of you are thinking: Six kids within ten years was the mistake! But that wasn’t the issue. The issue was that they were bickering. They were obeying very slowly and with some pretty sorry attitudes. They were not putting their things away, they were not pleasant to be around. The list could probably go a little longer.

This was just not our vision of a happy family, because we were certainly not happy parents at the moment; and our kids (ages 2-12) were keeping one another from being happy.

So we asked, “What are we doing wrong?” We prayed and took a look at ourselves; and we discovered that we were the problem: we were not backing up our words with actions. We had forgotten that we were in charge; we were allowing them to set the agenda while we reacted.

It was time to regroup. We put our heads together and reviewed our fundamentals: first time obedience for them and decisive follow through from us. Expectations would be clearly stated (not requested) and consequences would be immediate. Within twenty-four hours, peace and joy had returned to the household. The parents and the kids were happy again. God’s plan for parents to be in charge worked. Amazing!

Over the years, this scenario happened several times. Each time, we had to regroup and retake our roles as mom and dad.

Exodus 34:7 winds up a seven-layered description of God as He proclaimed Himself to Moses. It ends with this characteristic: “by no means leaving the guilty unpunished.” It is in God’s nature that the guilty ones get punished.

When Patricia and I talked, negotiated, cajoled, and threatened—but failed to justly punish—things went downhill. It was out of order, out of sync.

A big discipline mistake occurs when we simply fail to do it.

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