Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Proverbs 13:24 ESV
Raising children should be a joy, not a torment. Homes are happy places when the stress within a parent-child relationship is on the child, not the parent. Let me explain.
The job of raising good kids becomes much easier when we understand one basic principle. First and foremost, your child must respect you. Respect is a pre-requisite for love in any relationship. This respect is established when a child knows who is in control. Simply put, you need to be in complete control and the way to achieve this is to set clear boundaries and then enforce them. Walk quietly and carry a big stick, the old-timers used to say. When a child misbehaves, and they will, they must suffer for their actions. Anything less breeds anarchy. An illustration will help.
Lunch at the Callahan BBQ is always an experience and the other day was no exception. A large family, including two sets of parents and grandparents, were sitting at a nearby table with four younglings, all in their terrible twos. As I enjoyed my fried chicken and greens, the kids began throwing down. Not all at once, mind you. They were tag teaming the unsuspecting adults in a well thought out attack that was working beautifully. It was obvious the little yard apes were in total control. The fact that they were outweighed and outnumbered did not faze them a bit. The hatchlings had the run of the chicken yard, while the roosters and hens were clueless concerning a counter strategy. As the grandparents attempted to hug the temper tantrums away the wailing continued. The little biddies should have gotten a peck on the head.
Right out of the gate, the kids in the restaurant were controlling the situation because both sets of parents and grandparents refused to discipline them. Instead of interjecting the hard hand of suffering, the adults were struggling to know what to do. The adults instead of the children were suffering.
Before you object that they were too young to control, I have a two-year-old granddaughter who knows exactly what her pop would have done in that situation. I take her to any restaurant with the confidence that we will have a good time. In fact, I enjoy all of my grandkids in a restaurant; all at once, alone.
Our children’s happiness is not our responsibility. We must make their lives difficult. Yes, I said difficult. Our kids must suffer when they “throw down”, in order to learn self-control and the place to begin is at the Chicken House.
So, the next time your child “throws down” in a restaurant or at home for that matter, make sure they are the one suffering, not you. We work much too hard as parents and grandparents. The friendly policeman who writes you a speeding ticket is stress-free; you’re the one who is suffering.