Below are two messages that parents of young children should memorize.
The Bible instructs parents to love their children. But, the Bible does not define love as squishy sentimentalism that gives children whatever they want whenever they ask for it.
In fact, Scripture says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” (Pr 13:24) Parents who truly love their children consistently discipline them.
As the parent of four children, I do not enjoy disciplining my children. But, one sentence I learned early on is very helpful. In the context of discipline I have learned to say and think:
Message #1: I love you too much to teach you that you can make bad choices without any consequences. As someone has said, “Choose to sin, choose to suffer.” Don’t be deceived God cannot be mocked. You reap what you sow. (Galatians 6:7-8).
Or, when my children are upset with me because they think I am too protective, I say and think this:
Message #2: All your life, I have been willing to die for you. I can honestly tell you that it came down to your life or my life, I would give up mine on your behalf. So, if I am willing to die for you, then having you upset with me because I am protecting you is a relatively small thing in my world. If protecting you, means you being mad at me, then so be it.”
Parents, if you are unwilling to discipline your children then you are being unloving to them.
“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” (Pr 13:24)