Creative discipline

Have you stopped to think of all the ways improved attentiveness will help your children? They will enjoy more positive relationships with others – their teachers, their friends and other relatives. This, in turn, will build self-confidence and self-esteem.

As you use these ideas to tackle the unpleasant task of disciplining your children, keep the end results in mind. You are not just correcting your kids’ behaviour; you are offering your children a happier future.

Biblical basis

Isaiah 66:2-4 “…This is the one I esteem: he who is contrite and humble in spirit, and trembles at My Word. …They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations; so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in My sight and chose what displeases Me.”

Suggested disciplinary action

To help impress upon your child a sense of the importance of being attentive to God and to parents, do as Isaiah 66:4 suggests: “…choose harsh treatment for them and bring on them what they dread.” This is the way God gave the Israelites a wake-up call on the importance of listening. When you call and no one answers, or when you speak and no one listens, this is inattentiveness.

For each child, “harsh treatment” and “what they dread” will be very personal. Speaking firmly to one child may bring him/her to tears, whereas another child will need more severe intervention. One child may dread going to bed early, while a sibling may dread missing dessert. Ask God what form of discipline will work most effectively with your child.

Second, you may wish to spend time with your child reading Scripture passages that focus on the awe of God and talk of the “fear of the Lord.” (Some additional passages you could use are Isaiah 45:5-12, Isaiah 46:9-10, Isaiah 40:21-26). The emphasis of your discussion should be that when we truly revere someone, we listen when they speak.

The key message to convey to your child is this: One of God’s commands is for children to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1). In order to obey we must first listen; inattentiveness precedes disobedience. Choosing not to listen to parental instructions is directly related to disobeying God’s command that children are to obey their parents.


Affirm your child through assuring them that God is pleased when they are careful listeners. Assure your child that you believe that he/she is a child who wants to be, and can be, an attentive listener. Pray together, asking that God will help you both to grow in this area. Remind your child that as they learn to pay attention, they will become wise.

Proverbs 1:5-7 “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance – for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

Proverbs 22:17-18 “Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.”

Isaiah 48:17-18 “This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.’ ”