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The Ongoing Challenge

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace. Hebrews 12:11

The role of discipline in the relationship between parents and their kids is drawn directly from God’s holy Word. Ephesians 6 commands children to “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (v. 1) and directs fathers to “bring [children] up with Christian teaching in Christian discipline (v. 4, Phillips).

As a believer who trusts the Lord completely, I understand the significance of discipline. Yet as a mother, I also know that it’s the continuing battle to apply proper discipline at home that so often leaves parents feeling like a failure. If you are one of these discouraged moms and dads, I urge you to take heart—you’re probably doing a much better job than you think! Loving discipline will begin to promote an atmosphere of affection and respect if you are consistent and persistent.

I remember the first time my daughter challenged me. I was waxing the kitchen floor when Danae, then nine months old, crawled to the edge of the linoleum. I said “no” and gestured for her to stay put. She ignored me and crawled right into the sticky wax. I picked her up, set her down in the hallway, and said “no” again, this time more strongly. We repeated this scene seven times before Danae finally realized that Mom wasn’t backing down; she crawled away in tears. Believe me, it wasn’t the last time Danae would test her mother! Yet it did send her an early and important message: No matter how determined Danae was to get her way, I would be the one to make the rules and guide her with firmness and persistence.

It’s not easy, but it is worth it. Do your best, seek always to discipline “in the Lord,” and one day you’ll see what I mean.

- Shirley M Dobson

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
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