Disciplining students, especially in children’s classes, continues to be a challenge for Christian workers. Many youngsters simply do not want to listen and obey, and many parents are not disciplining their children and teaching them these things.
In Sunday School classes, undisciplined children continually talk, disrespect and interrupt their teacher, lean back in their chairs, make excessive noise by tapping their pencils on the desks or tables, or poke at the student next to them while the teacher is speaking.
Undisciplined children need to learn and understand that there are times when it’s necessary to be quiet, listen, and learn. They also need to learn to obey. This discipline needs to be balanced with love and times of freedom and fun!
If a child, only one child, continually makes noise, they distract the whole class and rob the other students of the information in the lesson being taught. This undisciplined child, sometimes seeking attention, draws the other students’ attention away from the teacher and toward themselves. At times, this can be so out of control that the teacher can’t conduct her class because the students are watching the undisciplined student to see what antic they will come up with next. This is especially true if the student in class is bigger and more aggressive than the teacher.
When a Christian worker tries to discipline the child, it doesn’t make an impact on that student because the teacher isn’t supported and/or taken seriously. I’ve experienced this so bad that, at times, the teacher gets mocked, ridiculed, and laughed at by her students. The teacher become ineffective and the whole class misses out on the lesson because of one or two continually disruptive students.
Because of recent laws in our nation, parents and teachers can no longer discipline children effectively for bad behavior. Parents are being hauled into court on child abuse charges for simply trying to discipline their own unruly, strong-willed children. As a result, more children are undisciplined and many are left to do as they please, even if it hurts someone else. This should not be!
Because of the laws in this nation, parents and teachers are afraid to discipline their children. Therefore, some parents do not follow through with discipline and train up their children. This results in a court system full of undisciplined people who get no penalty for the trouble they cause others. It also sends a message to the public that it’s OK to be a criminal because no one will enforce the law.
When I speak of discipline, I’m not talking about child abuse. I’m talking about taking effective measures to let that child know the bad behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
There are many effective methods of discipline that can be done without abusing the children. At times, however, the discipline may need to be firm and possibly even a little harsh to get the child to learn the lesson. When I say harsh, I mean that it might take the child a lot of hard work to realize causing problems is not worth the consequence they receive for doing so. Also, taking away privileges can be an effective way of discipline. Parents need to research and find out methods of discipline that work but do not abuse the child.
By penalizing parents who try to be responsible and train their children, the government encourages bad behavior which eventually can lead to that child becoming involved in criminal activity and ending up in prison. Our court system does not discourage lawlessness any longer. In fact, it frequently protects the criminal and the crime victim gets hurt even more. There is something extremely wrong with this picture!
As Christians, we should know that the Bible strongly supports parents disciplining their children. It does not support abuse! The difference depends on the motive in the heart of the person bringing the correction. A parent, who in love, disciplines to train up their children and correct bad behavior should be allowed to do so. In fact, God disciplines His children because He loves us and wants to teach us the proper way of living. Scripture says, ” My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11-12) God’s Word also tells us, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24)
Scripture also gives us reasons for disciplining our children. Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.” It also says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod, and save his soul from death.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)
Abuse is often the result of a parent hitting or hurting a child because their heart is filled with anger. Abuse is not seeking to train the child and bring them up properly, rather, it is seeking to beat the child for self-satisfaction. Abuse is not love because it doesn’t seek to build up the other person. Abuse, in its many forms, usually comes because the abuser hurts the other person for self-satisfaction.
I realize that it’s impossible for people to know, with complete accuracy, the motive of another individual. Also, children should not be left in the hands of abusers. Therefore, I acknowledge there is need for some children to be protected from people who do abuse them. However, I believe that parents who are loving trying to correct their children should also be protected from government officials who go overboard and tear families apart because of a rare accident on the part of parents who are trying to raise their children responsibly.
This issue of discipline is one that needs to be taken seriously and our government officials need to establish procedures that support the efforts of parents who are trying to do their job. It also needs to quit supporting and reducing sentences to criminal offenders who repeatedly hurt or even kill others. Supporting discipline by parents is one step toward reducing the number of people who end up filling our prison cells because they were never disciplined!