Mike and I are still newbies at this parenting thing – our oldest is about to turn four, our second son is about to turn two, and our youngest is only 8 weeks. We’re still figuring things out, determining what works and what doesn’t, and are trying to raise up our children in a biblical manner.
I’ve always been a fan of the Super Nanny, and up until now we have pretty much followed her discipline tactics, especially regarding the Naughty Spot. Most importantly, each time our children were punished, we explained to them why it was being administered and then had them repeat back to us why. We wanted to make sure that they clearly understood their infractions and that they chose the discipline when they chose not to obey Mommy and Daddy.
Recently we have been learning some parenting skills from a couple who has much older kids, one in college and two teenagers. In describing their parenting they expressed the need to have children ask their parents for forgiveness after discipline as well as praying to ask Jesus for forgiveness.
Duh! Why had that never occurred to me? I had noticed that when we instructed our oldest to say “sorry” it was clear more and more frequently that his response wasn’t quite sincere, or it was said quickly so that he could go off and get back to playing.
Requiring our son to begin asking our forgiveness and then praying to Jesus has changed the game entirely, and in a positive way. It is humbling for anyone, even a child, to ask for forgiveness….these days simply saying “sorry” doesn’t mean so much. Adding prayer on top of that seems to produce an even more contrite spirit in our son…he knows that talking to God is a serious matter.
Every time lately that I administer punishment, epsecially in the form of a spanking, my son’s first response is anger and tears, but once he has gotten hugs, asked for forgiveness from us, and asked for forgiveness from Jesus, and knows that he has received it, he is suddenly a different child. I was actually really amazed the first time this happened.
Even a three year old can experience the Spirit’s presence and God’s forgiveness, and the changing power of it. I’m kicking myself for not beginning to pray with him over discipline a really long time ago. It has been a blessing and probably would have saved us from alot of lingering resentment and defiance from our son in the past.
Seeking to live fully,