When children rule, a home becomes chaotic.
Boundaries give freedom to mature within the parameters of God’s moral laws and parental efficiency rules. Children need freedom to be kids, to learn and explore, to have fun. But they also need rules to guide them into productivity and maturity.
God gave Adam and Eve only one rule, and then His children though Moses ten rules, and now we have those rules clarified in His Word, admonishing us to follow them! Scripture gives us a clear picture of the chaos that comes when we think we are in charge.
There is an authority, but we are not our own, just as children cannot be in charge of their own lives and the home cannot revolve around them.
Controlling Parents Cause Chaos Too
When parents rule, the home may also become chaotic if they are ruling out of their own beliefs and desires which conflict with one another and with God (Jas 4). Examples of chaotic parenting are abusive discipline to make the children obey or control that never allows the child to make mistakes and mature. Parenting motivated by fear or by anger always produces negative results (Jas 1:19,20). The home cannot revolve around either or both of the parents or their agendas. When parents look at God’s model for how He trains His children, they can learn methods that produce desirable results.
When God rules a home in love, the fruit of the Spirit grows in both parents and children. The home then revolves around what the Lord desires, not what either the children or the parents desire. When individual desires are realigned with God’s desires, there is peace and unity. The parents who allow God to rule in their own hearts are then free to teach and train their children, balancing Nurture and Admonition as He does (Hebrews 12:5-10).
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.’ Hebrews 12:5-6, ESV
God has goals for His children and gives them rules, but not so very many that we can’t remember them all. In fact, Jesus simplified the Ten Rules to “Love God and love others, treating others as you would like to be treated.”
There are clear and definable and enforceable boundaries. God wrote them down. He is consistent and clearly states the consequences for disobedience and the blessings for obedience. He gives rules (Nurture – structured discipline), but the real focus is on the issues of the heart, why we do what we do (Admonition – heart to heart instruction and encouragement to make wise choices). Foolishness is treated with a rod, but admonishment suffices the Wise, according to many proverbs.
Our parenting should follow His style that always combines instruction and correction. The child should not only know what is expected and how to do it, but why it matters to God and to parents that he obeys. When children understand God’s heart for obedience and obeys parents out of obedience to God, maturity is happening and parents rejoice!
But that takes a lot of consistent work, paralleling the sanctification process in both parents and their children.
Be Purposeful with Your Children!
I often remind parents to be more corrective than punitive. Punishment comes from anger, while correction is motivated by love and desire to see the child mature. There is a major difference! Our download “How to Spank a Child” teaches parents to be corrective in loving discipline.
We use a “Behavior Goals Chart” to help parents set age appropriate goals for each child, along with the consequences for disobeying and the benefits of obeying. These should be individualized for each child, because for one child, isolation to his room is torture while for another it is a bit of heaven! Know what motivates each child and let the pain of losing those things motivate him away from foolish behaviors and toward wise and mature behaviors.
However, keep in mind that the ultimate goal is sanctification, not just making the parent look good through behaviorism.
Parents, take heart when your child doesn’t learn to obey overnight. Neither did you or I. God gives us 18 to 21-plus years to teach and train, love and correct, rebuke and encourage each of our children to maturity.
Keep praying and dancing in balance with Nurture and Admonition! They WILL grow up!
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