—Compiled & edited by Maria from the MLs
[HomeARC note (11/98): Please "Appendix E: Family Discipline Guidelines: Summary," The Love Charter, for current Family policies.]
1. Even if you don't understand what the problem stems from, the Lord understands‚ & the answer is love, whatever the problem, & through His love He can show you the specific solution. Love never fails.
2. "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty" (Job 5:17).
3. Communication is so important. At times of misbehaviour it's even better if you don't just punish, but especially talk about things & give the child a chance to explain himself & talk it out. Try to find out why he's misbehaving. Young people should only be given punishment along with understanding.
4. Be sure the rules as well as the punishment, deprivation of privileges or sentence you lay down are prayerful & Spirit-led & not done in anger or without prayer.
5. We do not put up with foolishness or rowdy, mischievious, naughty‚ disobedient, wilful, stubborn & rebellious behaviour in anyone. Warnings are usually needed to give the person time to make the choice for themselves to change for the better. But if not, "The rod of correction will drive it far from him" (Pro.22:15).
6. There's nothing wrong with disciplining in righteous anger over wrongdoing. God does that. We should get angry over sin [Eph.4:26a].
7. Discipline must always be tempered with love & mercy.
8. There is such a sin as having too much patience. There are a lot of times you shouldn't have patience because you need to nip things in the bud & not wait too long. You need to get stirred up once in awhile & you need to immediately [deal with] disobediences & correct problem situations before they go too far.
9. Give discipline in love as a loving father in the right way—not too hard‚ not too harsh, not too heavy, not to the point of total discouragement & despair so that your child gives up & quits trying because he just can't live up to your standards.
10. Your long-term goal should be to encourage your children to obey out of love & to have the conviction to know what is right & what is wrong & therefore choose to do the right thing.
11. Once you have actually promised sentence, you may temporarily suspend sentence & put them on probation. But once you have said, "Now you're on probation & we've decided we're going to do thus & so with you‚" or whatever the sentence is, & you suspend the sentence for right now, you must tell them, "But if you don't respond to this probation & straighten out, then such & such will immediately occur."
12. Each child's discipline must be tailored for his particular needs, his individual personality! A lot depends on the child & what really gets through to him.
13. A child not only has to love you, he's also got to respect you & not be allowed to get away with outright defiance.
14. Don't be afraid to use chastisement & look on it as the rod of God in your hand, God's servant, & may you teach your children to [respect] you as God teaches His children—us—to [respect] Him!
15. The rod of chastisement is not wrong but it is the spirit in which it is wielded that counts. God Himself chastises us with His rod but He does it in love & in patience & always comforts us afterwards & tries to encourage us to keep on in spite of our mistakes.
16. Even God's spankings are done in love & are a proof of His love!
17. I frequently scolded & applied the rod in the form of lectures‚ exposure in front of others, deprivation of privileges & even very occasionally, some form of corporal punishment, but I always add love's healing balm afterwards to soothe, encourage, comfort & give hope of recovery.
18. God is not only a God of love, but He is also a God of wrath & chastisement & judgement if you disobey the rules & endanger yourself, your life‚ our Family & the Work!
19. When you have to use the rod of chastisement‚ be sure you wield it in the right spirit.
20. Correction does much‚ but encouragement does more. Encouragement coming after censure is the sun after a shower.
21. You will surely reap in your children exactly what you sow, especially if you don't discipline them!—That's your job as a parent, to train up your child in the way he should go.
22. Children need discipline, but it must always be tempered with love & mercy.—You always have to weigh their motives. Why did he do it? If he really had a good motive even though the action itself seemed wrong, you should forgive him.
24. Under the Law of Love God has even more rigidly enforced some rules, but He has relaxed some others where they're not as tough. In your disciplining you have got to decide on what rules must be obeyed without fail & without exception & what rules can be sometimes relaxed & exceptions made. And you have to have the wisdom of God to know the difference.—Which ones you must enforce without fail & which you can be merciful about.—When to stick to your guns & when to sometimes encourage them & agree to do things their way.
25. You can't have teenagers without a father! No woman can control teenage boys unless she's a real toughy! It takes a man that can really lower the boom on'm if necessary.
26. We should do with our children as God does with us: He tries to persuade us to do things through the right loving motivation because we want to do what's right‚ because we love Him & we love others, not just because we're made to, forced to, or because of fear of punishment; that's the old law!
27. But if the gentling & the persuading & the love & the reasoning & the leading & the teaching doesn't work & they're still stubbornly wilfully disobedient, then you've got to [use a stronger form of discipline].
28. Be sure your first admonition is loving, gentle & prayerful & with a good reason, a cheerful warning as to why. But if they persist, sock it to them. Do it in love as the Lord does (Heb.12)‚ & if you really love them & they know it & love you they'll eventually keep your commandments (John 14:15).—And everybody will be happier in the end.
29. Inconsistent discipline is the worst kind of discipline! It's not discipline at all. You have to be consistent. Be frank, be fair, be honest, be loving, but be firm & then be consistent.
30. For a child to be trained by love takes a lot more time & patience, but they'll be a far better child & much more obedient if they are persuaded to obey through love, rather than by breaking their will & forcing them to obey for fear of punishment!
31. Try to let young people make a decision themselves to obey & be good, without threatening. Forbear threatening if you can, although I've found it does a lot of good sometimes (Eph.6:9).
32. Some parents have really been tough on their young people, hard, cruel & mean, & even if they were right, the kids never felt any real concern, reasoning, rationalisation, explaining‚ or motivation, & so they never learned love, love for God, love for parents, love of others. They just never learned the right motivation. They only did it because they were made to & they would only do as much as they were made to do, whereas love goes much further, even all the way. It'll go to the death & die for someone else, to do the right thing.
33. Some parents break their child's stubborn will by force, but that child will always be stubborn anyhow whenever he gets a chance. He'll only obey the law as long as the law enforcer is there & the minute he gets out of sight of his parents he will go wild & won't know how to handle freedom or choice!
34. The best law is love & along with love comes reasoning, persuasion, explaining, teaching, the Word & all the rest so that the children can make their own decisions, because they'll stick to it far better if they decide to do it themselves because they want to do right! That'll go a lot further than only doing right because you're there to make'm!
35. When it becomes necessary to finally enforce the law that you've given, if after a warning & repeated counselling they go ahead & do it stubbornly‚ rebelliously, wilfully anyway, you finally have to lower the boom & apply the rod, as God's Word says. ["The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Pro.29:15).] It's very very Scriptural‚ & if you don't do it you're going to be sorry.
36. You cannot threaten judgement & then not carry it out! Law without enforcement is no law at all. Many a time I have wished that I didn't have to enforce my own laws upon my children & I've tried to sort of get out of it. But once you let them get away with it & they find out you're not going to enforce it, then there's hell to pay because then they figure they can get away with it every time.
37. It takes time & patience & understanding & lots of real love to train a child, instead of just knocking him around & violently forcing him to do things he doesn't understand or thinks are not right or unfair.
38. One thing I couldn't tolerate was for people to be sassy & insolent & show disrespect by talking back. Arguing is one thing, but downright disrespectful remarks I used to [firmly correct] them for that!
39. May God give you great love, patience & wisdom & also the mercy to forgive when necessary or advisable!—Or deserved because of great repentance & Godly sorrow!
40. The best kind of correction should be chastening or child-training, something that will teach them something, train them & help them to learn the lesson, & help them never to make the same mistake again. I much preferred for my father to give me a good walloping so I could get it over with‚ than to lecture me for an hour or two. To me that was the worst correction of all‚ but I know I usually learned a lot more from those lectures than from the beating.
41. When the child training‚ the chastening, the punishment is over, then is the time to love, to comfort, to encourage, "lest that which is lame be turned out of the way," in other words‚ become discouraged (Heb.12:13).
42. Don't let your children get away with a deliberate wrongdoing. You'll be sorry if you do! Don't be too harsh & severe, but after a repeated warning where you've made it very clear what you mean & they really understand what you're talking about—if they keep right on at it, wilfully, knowingly & defiantly doing it to see if you really mean it, then you've gotta show'm you mean it!
43. "Let your moderation be known unto all men" (Phil.4:5). Be "temperate in all things" (1Cor.9:25), & hit a middle-of-the-road in your scoldings & deprivations of privileges & [punishments]. Don't be too easy on them, but don't be too hard on them either. And always try to show them why & try to get their willing cooperation through understanding & reasoning, as the Lord does. Then, only after your repeated warning & their repeated wilful defiant disobediences & an absolute refusal to obey‚ are you justified in using loving force—as God does!
44. Those who can't be controlled through love have to be controlled through fear. ["And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear " (Jude 22,23).] You have to cause children to respect you before you can get them to love you. Even the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom & if you begin to have a little wisdom it will eventually lead you to getting smart & loving Him.
45. Be sure it's in the right spirit with the meekness & quietness of a tender, gentle, loving, & contrite heart. Be sure that you're in the right spirit as you correct them for their mistakes & their errors & their sins, even as God does us & as we would want others to do unto us for ours—loving & forgiving one another for Christ's sake, even as He hath forgiven us for our sins (Eph.4:32).
46. Boy, that's one thing that they never could have accused me of, that I couldn't control my kids, even when they were big teenagers! If the situation was serious enough‚ I wasn't afraid to [discipline] my sons in public if I had to. But thank God that my teenagers [respected] me as well as loved me! Any parents whose children don't [respect] him as well as love him, is no parent.—We not only love God our Father, but we fear Him! We know He won't tolerate any foolishness & won't let us get away with anything, & we can't let our kids get away with anything either!
47. I was good to my kids & I was patient & I was loving & I was kind, but if they'd acted in that kind of obstreperous rebellious absolutely devilish meanness‚ I would've [sternly disciplined them] & they would've been sorry they ever had anything to do with it!
48. But thank God by the time my kids became teenagers, they rarely needed a rod anymore! They were mature adults & grown up & out of that foolishness & were serving God & preaching the Gospel & winning souls & obeying & loving me & the Lord.
49. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth!" (Heb.12:6). One of the supreme forms of love, one of the most sacrificial forms of love, is to discipline a child.
50. Love never fails!—If it's real love, it won't fail even if it's applying the rod in love. I think you should try everything else you possibly can before applying corporal punishment. But if all else fails, you just about have to. What else can you do? You have to use [loving] force. God does!
51. There's a time for the rod‚ but not all the time, only when after a repeated warning & repeated advice they continue to go their own way & do their own thing & pay no attention, then you can bring it in & lay it on the line.
52. If all else fails on us, God uses force, corporal punishment, the rod, sickness, accident, calamity. After He's tried all the love & the mercy & the patience & the weeping & everything else‚ if that doesn't do it, He'll [chasten you] until you repent!