Discipline + Trust = Love! – Part 2*
In my previous blog Discipline + Trust = Love I took you through the story of my emotionally manipulative behaviour and how perhaps a lack of discipline and trust contributed to it. I hope it helps others recognise similar behaviour in themselves, and to learn how to access powerful angels to combat this all too common inner enemy. Please read the previous one first, as it sets the foundation for this post.
If you would like to hear more about the emotional trials I faced in my relationships and the success that came from my new perspective have a read of Less Tantrums, More Love. I’d like to keep the focus here to explain more about what God has been trying to help me understand, about how disciplining our children with love helps to build trust and a healthy perspective of how to feel love and be grateful of Godly discipline.
Discipline means, the trait of being well behaved; a branch of knowledge; and training to improve strength or self-control. Trust means, the trait of believing in the honesty and reliability of others; allow without fear; and complete confidence in a person or plan.
Seeing as I am a parent currently learning these lessons myself, I feel my readers may as well be learning this right along with me. God has been showing me that it is our job as parents to seek His advice in deciding what is right for our children and stick to that with all the tenacity and prayer we can muster, even if they don’t like it, even if they panic, and even if they cry! The hope is that this may help them develop strength, self-control, good behaviour and knowledge. If our children learn that they can trust us, they will believe in our honesty and reliability, have complete confidence in us and our guidelines, without fear.
When I first became a parent I was mindful of the problems the lack of discipline in certain areas caused me, I did my best to address this early on, and was indignant if my children battled against me, sometimes I would win and sometimes I would be defeated. However it wasn’t until I developed some faith that I was more able to withstand against their emotional manipulations. I am far from a role model parent, I loose my temper, react badly and still struggle with the effects of my psychological conditions. However, I am willing to try to stick to my convictions and trust that God will cover areas I am unable to! Amen! I always hope to keep improving as a parent so that during times when they may stand against my authority, or when as they grow and begin to decide for themselves, I can adapt with each phase and yet must remember to recognise the enemy’s tricks and pray for the strength to stand strong with Godly principles in mind.
I came to recognise the inner enemy as the force at work that is trying to get parents to crumble under the emotional pressure and allow children to get away with bad behaviour. The only weapon we have against any inner enemy is God’s army of angels we must call upon with faith and the armour which God provides. This article by a fellow blogger explains The Armour of God from the scriptures if you want to read more on this subject.
After many battles of will with my children and seeing the difference the help from my inner angels makes, I am beginning to realise that ‘meaning what you say with love in your heart’ is the most important way of building your child’s trust and gaining their respect. If we offer a punishment for bad behaviour or a disrespectful attitude, and fail to pass it out, why would a child be concerned by our threats and learn to respect us? If we allow our children’s emotions and tantrums to dictate a change in our rules or our decisions, doesn’t that change who’s in authority? Why then, would they trust us to know what is best for them? I believe we need to teach our children to understand that when we insist on what is best for them and what is acceptable behaviour, even if they don’t ‘like’ it, it proves our trustworthy authority over them and therefore our stable, dependable love for them.
I am seeing more and more that Godly discipline is proactive discipline. ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ This is an understanding of what the consequences will be before the child continues with bad behaviour, a warning, then following through with the threatened consequence every time they ignore the warning. I hope my girls grow to trust me to mean what I say, and know that I’m trying to teach them that for all of life’s decisions, there will be consequences. Good or bad. God gives us warnings, that small voice of conscience reminding us of what is dangerous or unacceptable behaviour. We can choose to ignore the warning, but be assured there will be a consequence eventually.
Too often tactics of discipline don’t always work, because a quick sting on the hand may cause tears, and parents do not want to cause their precious baby to cry, as quite frankly the baby cries enough already! It then becomes common to wait to begin disciplining until around 2 years old. By this time the child has already gotten away with unacceptable behaviour without understanding consequences, they have no idea how or why to heed a warning.
Usually the frustration parents feel at having no control or no respect from their children can lead to emotionally reactive discipline, for example yelling, swearing, smacking in anger without warning, unreasonable punishments or irrational threats that may sound scary but will never be carried out. Reactive discipline may actually be the cause why the child does not trust us or respect us! From the minute they try to get their own way, we need to take control and mean what we say with love in our heart.
As we grow older it is much easier for us to accept the ups and downs in life if we have a stable foundation to build on. As a child we may feel angry, scared, sad or confused when we aren’t allowed to get our own way, but if we are disciplined correctly we grow up to learn that our parents loved us, were trustworthy, helped keep us safe, to make stable choices and display appropriate behaviour. Wouldn’t that also help us see that when life gives us warnings and consequences, we can interpret that as God’s unfailing, trustworthy, guidance and love for us, rather than acting like defiant children who throws a tantrum when we don’t get our own way.