Tantrums, disobedience, lies, manipulation, cruelty… sin. It’s inevitable to come face-to-face with these things (among many others) while parenting; sometimes it’s found in the kids and sometimes it’s found in us.
Whatever your view of disciplining for such infractions, it’s important to remember that the root of their behavior is sin. Whether they are saved or not, they will sin, so teaching them through discipline is important for bringing our kids one step closer to Jesus.
My favorite resource for helping parents address sin in the hearts of our children is a book called Parenting with Scripture by Kara Durbin. The tagline for this book is, “A topical guide for teachable moments” and that really describes it well!
The book is structured topically for countless character and habitual issues that need to be addressed or reinforced. Topics such as Complaining, Gossip, Contentment, Listening, Jealousy, Obedience, Meanness, Loneliness, Perseverance, Pride, Respect, Self-Control, Sharing, Joyfulness, etc. The list goes on and on.
Each topic has a definition of the topic, or quality that you are trying to instill or address. This is helpful in enabling kids to know what it is that we are addressing. A list of Bible verses which help root the conversation in Scripture as well as provides great verses for memorization! Discussion questions follow which help the adult facilitate the talk and frames it around God’s Word.
Sometimes, but not in all topics, there is a “Challenge” for further study to reinforce the lesson, usually biblical examples of character in action. The “Take Action” section provides ideas for practicing the biblical trait in various ways. Sometimes there is also a “Parenting Tip” which gives parents the opportunity to think about the issue from a different perspective. At the end of each topic are “Related Topics” which you can cross-reference with your child if you need to.
By instilling God’s Word in their hearts through both calm and intense moments, they will see that God’s Word applies in all circumstances, emotions and behaviors.
Another way to to bring our kids back to Jesus is to ask for their forgiveness. When the sin is found in us toward our kids, it’s important that they see we own it. We must show our kids what it means to be humble, to confess our sins and to ask forgiveness of the ones we hurt in the process. This allows us to speak into the situation with humility and grace, in addition to move our kids through the redemption story from the offended person’s side.
It is my prayer that God is glorified as we parent through lessons which instill character into our kids, and that our kids will come to faith the more we confront their (and our) need for Jesus with His Word.
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Holly currently lives in Nebraska with her amazing & godly husband, sweet & smart 4-year old daughter & joyful 2 year old son. She is a stay-at-home mom who serves with her local MOPS group, and on her church’s Mission Leadership Team for missionary support. She writes at The Brown Tribe for the purpose of discipling and encouraging women and mothers. She is also a contributor for Satisfaction Through Christ, Raising Up Stones & Missional Call. In her spare time she enjoys coffee, photography, exploring the culinary craft, helping combat human trafficking through awareness and is currently writing her first book. You can follow along with Holly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram.
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