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Follow up – Don’t treat your toddlers as their sins deserve!

toddlers hitting

This is a follow up post. You may want to read the first one, “Don’t treat your toddlers as their sins deserve” before continuing with this one.

Here is a great comment and question from Maia on yesterday’s post:

“Could you give a real-life or real-life like example of this in action. So Johnny is hitting his little brother. How do we correct this issue without setting Johnny up to learn the formula of what I did was wrong, I paid the price. My husband and I are living this right now and our prayer is that we will parent the way God desires.”

Glad that you asked!

Godly discipline always points to Christ. This is what Ephesians 6:4 is all about. Simply correcting behavior without challenging the heart is nothing more than manipulation. This leads to self-sufficiency, resignation, or rebellion. So, Paul says that children are to be raised in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, lest they become exasperated. The formula that parental discipline equals payment for sin can easily masquerade as biblical discipline. Let’s get to the example that Maia asked for. First, we will look at how not to go about it.

Johnny has once again hit his little brother, Ben, because he is irritated with Ben wanting to play with his toys. Mom walks in and finds that, once again, Ben is wailing and Johnny has a look of frustration, anger, and guilt. So mom says:

“Johnny, did you hit Ben again?”

Silence.

“Johnny!”

“Yes, but he was taking my favorite truck again. I never get to play with it. So, I pushed him away from it. I didn’t mean to hurt him.”

“Johnny, you know what this means! How many times must we tell you not to hit. God does not want you to solve problems by hitting. Mommy will discipline you. Then you will tell Ben you are sorry. Then you will go to your room and think about this for 30 minutes until the timer goes off. Maybe this will help you to learn not to hit. If you are good and don’t hit Ben anymore today, you will be able to have some of our special dessert tonight. If not, you will go straight to bed after supper. You must learn that God says you must not hit! Do you understand?”

Read the rest at Shepherd Press

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