It can all seem overwhelming as a parent. Trying to teach and not punish. Trying to be calm and not angry. It begs the question, what happens if I screw it up?
Here's the deal, we all screw up sometimes. We're not perfect and there are going to be times when we blow it. We rush to judgment. We are harsh instead of loving. We hurt feelings instead of correcting behavior.
But a couple of mess-ups aren't going to scar your kids for life. When you don't react well, admit it and ask your kids for forgiveness. You may end up teaching them even more than if you had disciplined them well in the first place.
We don't carry the burden for changing our kids hearts on our own. God is right there with us. On those days when we've thrown up our hands and simply want to be anywhere but in the midst of disciplining our kids, God is there. When it seems like nothing we are doing is effective, God is there. All we have to do is ask for help.
God promises He will always be with us, and He's always willing to give us wisdom and strength when we ask for it. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20 "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Raising kids is tough, and we don't have to do it alone. God is there to help.
God also provides us with some great physical resources.
- The first source of wisdom is the Bible. When it comes to discipline, the Bible has lots to say about just about every topic you might encounter. Don't hesitate to take your kids to the Bible and have them learn what it has to say about whatever behavior they are struggling with.
- One of my favorite books on discipline is Creaitve Correction by Lisa Whelchel. This is a great place to turn when you're out of ideas for how to discipline your kids. She has some very creative methods for disciplining our kids. Not everything in this book will be right for every family, but there's probably something in there that will work with every kid. Be sure to also check out the parents page on her website, which is filled with parenting resources.
- Dare to Discipline and The Strong-Willed Child, both by James Dobson are two of my favorite books. Dare to Discipline talks about the importance of discipline and the Bible's take on it. It offers some practical suggestions for disciplining your kids. The Strong-Willed Child is a great tool for those of you, who like me, have a child whose strong will leads to frustration. It's a book that will give you insight into how your child's brain works and what methods work best with these kids. If you're not familiar with the Focus on the Family website, be sure to check it out, too. Lots of great parenting resources are available for you there.