Summary: The end result of all discipline's good benefits is children that have the learned ability to control themselves. A loving parent inflicts temporary discomfort on his children to spare them the long range disaster of an undisciplined life.



[Hebrews 12:6-11]

Affection is not enough. Love must also discipline. Good Christians or even good citizens cannot be produced in homes where children have good reason not to respect their own parents. Permissive homes (those where effective parental authority is absence) produce insecurity and dependance in children by giving in to their childish disrespect and defiance.

Discipline is instructing where the boundaries of acceptable behavior lie and then enforcing them with in a frame work of love and affection. Children learn to follow patterns that produce satisfactory results. So good discipline is brought about by the intelligent application of the principles of reinforcement. Positive reinforcement of good behavior, and negative reinforcement of behavior that needs eliminating.

The end result of all discipline's good benefits is children that have the learned ability to control themselves. A loving parent inflicts temporary discomfort on his children to spare them the long range disaster of an undisciplined life.


We live in a day of rampant child abuse, So we have been rightly sensitized to the dangers of hitting a child in anger or using any instrument, including the hand, which might cause serious physical injury. It's important to realize that as a child grows older, he can be corrected by the use of other consequences some of which he himself might even choose.

That is one side of the coin. The other side is that a wise and loving parent will not be afraid to bring his child to tears when necessary. The timeless wisdom of Proverbs is clear on this issue.

Proverbs 13:24 links love with discipline. "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently."

Refusal to discipline one's child when needed shows that genuine love and concern are questionable. Sparing the rod (yah-saar) is the specific act or habit which is charged against the parent as being equivalent to hating his son. The child begins to act the tyrant in willful defiance. He is disrespectful, disobedient, or untruthful. These and other vices begin forming in his life and growing as he grows. The matter is reported to the father and the behavior is carried out in the father's presence. He warns the child to be better and then dismisses him. The father repeats this procedure frequently. The child eventually learns that he can do what ever he wants with impunity. The father sometimes even threatens, but never punishes. The child grows worse. By escaping the due punishment the child's corrupt nature moves the child into unacceptable behavior and then molds and establishes evil behavior. The father calls himself loving, but it is too weak to be real love. Love never gives way to falsehood and obstacles. When a parent gives the child his own way, yields more as the child demands it, the child begins to think he can get anything by demanding it outrageously. In reality the parent is not demonstrating love for his child but ease for himself. Diligent discipline demands time and sacrifice.

The man who gravely tells his child what is wrong and if that wrong is repeated, then loving spanks him, demonstrates the real love and sacrifice of being more concerned for his child's proper long term development that he is for his own immediate ease and convenience. Omitting a responsibility so vital for the child's long-term welfare by winking at disobedient behavior is delivering your child to a wayward will and vicious habits. The discipline that children require all too often finds the parents lacking sufficient self-discipline to implement it.

The rod here is generic and not necessarily a twig, cane, board, or belt but the most convenient or appropriate implement. Though corporal discipline is directly intended the adaptation of the discipline and the measure of punishment should directly relate to the child's age and waywardness. The reason son is used here instead of daughters may be that behavior of sons in general requires more discipline (it was so with my parent's family). The rod of discipline is never to be applied in anger or with harsh severity, least it drive the child away or break his spirit (Prov. 17:22), but is to be exercised in love aimed at subjugating the will and humbling and purifying the heart.

We are to discipline our children diligently. Diligent, consistent, reasonable discipline is the mark of genuine love. It is best to start earlier in life when it is easiest. It is cruel to let your son grow up without the correction he needs for proper development. Love him and mold him while he is a child or the world and those who don't love him will need to break him as an adult.


Proverbs 19:18 indicates that discipline gives hope for a life of wisdom. "Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death" (or literally cause him to die).

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