A man or woman that doesn’t discipline their kids is simply offloading responsibilities. It’s kind of interesting really. I can remember doing youth ministry for 12 years. I could normally tell the kids that got inconsistent and inadequate discipline. I could pick them out of my youth group and any other youth group I might be hanging around with.
I suppose by most standards, we are pretty strict in our household. But we have a ton of conversations. I make sure that I talk out the issues with my kids. I don’t want to simply punish them. I want to mold them and shape them and help them think and process critically. I want them to understand why the actions or words were poor, what the outcome was, what the outcome could have been, and how they can be better prepared for the next time.
I think consistency and forewarning are good ways to discipline. And if you lay out guidelines and consequences, you should follow it up. Kids know if you are soft. They know if you aren’t going to follow through. And if you aren’t going to follow through, then you aren’t a person of your word.
I preached at a parents meeting about 7 years ago. And here is what I said that continues to remind me to stay close to my kids in discipline and instruction and encouragement – “we can’t expect the children’s ministry and youth department to do in one hour a week what wasn’t done in eight years.” Still holds true today don’t ya think? It’s not too late. Be consistent. Be true to your word. Talk. Have the conversations. If you aren’t talking to your kids about what you want them to change, they may not change then. You have the opportunity to shape an amazing person.