~Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
This Proverb is a great one in instructing parents on how and when to discipline their child. The word betimes according to the Strong’s Concordance means early. Noah Webster defines it as seasonably; in good season or time; before it is late. Both definitions give us a clear picture that a child needs to be disciplined early in his life. I also believe that Mr. Webster’s definition could be interpreted to mean “at the moment of the offense.” Consistent discipline is so important. You should not discipline a child one day for disobedience and then ignore it the next because it is not convenient for you.
Do you not want a well adjusted child? Do you want a child that will not bring you shame? There are times when a child needs a spanking and there are times when mere correction is sufficient. It also depends on the child. Some children only need a stern talking to while others need a little more convincing. We are all different! Not everyone responds in the same manner. Whatever personality your child has, he still needs discipline.
~Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Our children do not need to be taught to do wrong. Just watch a two-year old long enough and he will figure it out all by himself. However, you will not see a child naturally do what is right. That is what needs to be taught.
Scenario: Mom pulls up to the cash register after half an hour of shopping with her two-year old in the cart. The grocer in his infinite wisdom has the candy strewn on both sides of the check-out lane. The toddler stretches to maximum capacity and his little hands get a hold of the candy. Mom takes the candy away and puts it back on the shelf and the toddler goes into screaming mode! What’s a mother to do? Does she allow the child to pitch his hissy fit or does she handle it right then and there? It only takes one lesson to teach most children.
This same thing happened to me. I gathered all my groceries and put them back in the cart and excused myself. I pushed my screaming child and full cart to the bathroom. This is where my toddler’s first lesson on “how to act while shopping” was learned. Anyone who has had a screaming two-year old knows that logical conversation just does not work. Therefore, I applied the rod of discipline to the seat of instruction. I hugged him and after he was done the initial crying, I explained to him that his behavior was not pleasing to me nor to God. I reminded him of “Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” I had him repeat it back to me. I then told him that we were going to go back to the checkout counter and that he was going to behave and not grab at candy or we would be returning to the bathroom for more of our lesson. The rest of the checkout experience went without a glitch.
Shopping was a pleasure after that day. If I noticed my son’s eyes focus in on the candy at the checkout aisle, I would remind him of our trip to the bathroom. He would immediately stop tempting himself and look the other way. As I grew in my role of being a Mom, I learned to pack “distractions” in the diaper bag to keep my toddler occupied as I shopped and checked out. This also kept him focused.
Discipline is needed at an early age. Tumultuous situations in a grocery store can turn into peaceful ones. The same applies when you go out to eat in restaurants. Don’t allow toddlers to get out of their high chair or booster seat and walk around your table. You can rest assured that they will wander and ruin meal time for others. Pack toys and distractions in the diaper bag to keep your toddler busy as you wait for the meal. A toddler gets whiny and cranky when he is hungry so crackers come in handy while waiting. When you train your toddler while he is yet young, you create pleasant situations for yourself later. I can remember people stopping by our table and commenting how well behaved our toddlers were.
Discipline is doing something you dislike to create something you love. It’s never easy to discipline. It is hard work. But the results are marvelous.