The Danger in Not Disciplining Children (June 2022)

A few years ago, I walked up to a family at church. The man was holding a little girl. She was about three. I smiled at her; and all at once, she pulled her hand back and threw her fist as hard as she could into my face. I didn’t have time to pull back. The pain ran through my jaw. The dad smiled at his little girl and with baby talk said, “Now, we don’t hit.” He never apologized to me for her behavior. His daughter started kicking and hitting him. He didn’t say anything.

I often see children hitting their parents and telling them, “No, no, no.” What has happened to parents that many no longer discipline their children? I had one couple that came to me for counseling. They expressed to me that they didn’t believe in spanking a child. I lovingly told them that their believing wasn’t in line with the Bible. See, I am a Christian counselor, not a secular one.

We often misquote Proverbs 13:24 as “He that spares the rod, spoils the child.” That is not what it says. The Amplified Bible reads, “He who withholds the rod [of discipline] hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines and trains him diligently and appropriately [with wisdom and love].” Did you see that? Those who do not discipline their child, “hate” them. How can that be? Disciplining gives a child boundaries. There is safety in that. When we don’t allow them this means to learn, children are just flipflopping into whatever they want. That is a frightening territory. Not providing consequences for wrong behavior in children is hating them. Hebrews 12:11 Amp. says, “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful; yet to those who have been trained by it (disciplining), afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [right standing with God and a lifestyle and attitude that seeks conformity to God’s will and purpose.]” “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4 Amp.) (Proverbs 19:18, 29:15,17).

Proverbs 22:15 Amp. says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him.” Folks, I am writing from the Bible. Is it any wonder that we are seeing a rebellious generation? If children aren’t obedient to their parents, what makes us think that they will submit to those in authority in our schools, workplaces, and our government? We read in Proverbs 23:13 Amp., “Do not withhold discipline from the child; If you swat him with a reed-like rod [applied with godly wisdom], he will not die. You shall swat him with the reed-lie rod and rescue his life from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead).” The seriousness of not discipling can mean an eternity in hell for our children.

“Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).This is a powerful promise.Let us ask the Father, in Jesus’ name, for wisdom in raising our children (James 1:5).Let disciplining prove your love for them.

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