Before we've even grown comfortable in the role of motherhood, it starts...the fall-to-the-floor tantrums, the food throwing, the back-talking, the hitting, and even the selective hearing. Suddenly, we're faced with the the reality that our children are sinners, and moreso, that God has given us the authority to do something about it! With a sea of opinions and resources, it's easy to just feel paralyzed. In this episode, Emily and Laura give an overview of discipline in the early years, especially focusing on using it as a tool to communicate the gospel. Discipline will play out differently in each family, but the goal is the same: pointing our sinful children to their desperate need for the perfect Savior.
Although neither of us follow, subscribe to, or endorse one particular book or method of discipline, we still wanted to share some resources we've learned from (in different ways). Please see this not as the "perfect" list for discipline resources, but as a place to begin your own prayerful research and learning!
Practical Takeaways for Each Section of the Gospel Mentioned:
Establish clear expectations according to God's word, and train the child to respond to those expectations. Practice immediate obedience when they are young with early commands like, "Come" or "Stop" in a low-stakes environment.
When children fail obey at an age-appropriate level (and they will!), provide consistent, loving discipline (not in anger or with a desire to punish/shame). This might be things like: time-out, natural consequences, loss of privilege, verbal rebuke, spanking, etc.
As the Holy Spirit leads, use discipline as a teachable moment to point the child to their need for a Savior. Pray together, hug, and always remember to reconcile after discipline -- forgiving them and keeping short accounts.
Train your children in righteousness by encouraging them, practicing "doing what is right" in a low-stakes environment, and equipping them in everyday situations. See discipline in the context of disciple-making, and give your children the bigger picture: they are an image-bearer of God, created for relationship with Him for His glory.
Let us know your thoughts! We'd love to hear more about the conversations you're having. Shoot us an email, or find us on on social media.
Tell others. We truly hope this podcast fosters conversations and deeper discussions between mothers to seek the gospel in their daily activities - we'd be honored if you shared and encouraged others to listen in.
*Affiliate links used where appropriate to support this ministry.