Summary: How to train a child.
1. The Reproof of Proper Discipline.
Proverbs 1:8 - "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother."
"Instruction" is mentioned 25 times in Proverbs. It means, "reproof, chastisement, discipline, and warning."
One of the greatest rules of good discipline is to instruct - to tell your children ahead of time what you expect of them.
Just as the Book of Proverbs repeats "instruction" often - so do good parents. Make sure your children understand what you expect of them.
Children cannot be held accountable for instructions not given or instructions not given clearly.
Proverbs 4:1 - "Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to understanding." Verse 3 continues, "For I was my father’s son..." When children try to manipulate you and accuse you of unfairness remind them that you were once a child also who had to be given instructions.
Proverbs 13:1 - "A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke."
Many discipline problems can be solved by clear instructions.
2. The Rod of proper discipline.
After you instruct, there is often the need for reinforcement. I don’t believe that the Bible is saying that spanking is the only reinforcement for instruction. There are many positive reinforcements. But corporal punishment can be an effective tool when used properly and lovingly.
Proverbs 3:11,12 - "My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord: neither be weary at his correction. For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth."
I am very aware that spanking children is a volatile and much maligned practice.
Much of the disagreement with spanking comes from practices not concurrent with Scripture. Physical abuse of children is reprehensible and excessive use of corporal punishment is a sign of a greater problem.
However I still choose to follow the wisdom of God’s Word over the philosophy of men. You at least have to admit that the Bible teaches spanking whether or not you agree with it.
Proverbs 22:15 - "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child: but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
The "rod" was literally a small tree limb, a stick, a "switch".
Proverbs 13:24 - "He that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
(See also Proverbs 19:18; 23:13-14; etc.)
Love is the proper and only motivation for proper discipline. Anger is not a proper motivation. Many adults who oppose spanking today do so because they were the recipients of parents out of control with rage and anger. The improper application of a process does not render the proper use null and void.
3. The Result of Proper Discipline.
Proverbs 29:17 - "Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."
The work of discipline requires patient persistence but the results are well worth the investment!
Proverbs 22:6 - "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
This verse is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misapplied in Scripture.
This is a "proverb", not a "promise". It is often misapplied as a promise and that is the problem.
If you "train up" (narrow the path through proper discipline) your child, it is generally true (a proverb) that the child will "not depart from it."
To see a child grow up and not depart from their training is a true joy. It is one of the blessings of all of the time and effort spent in proper discipline.