Creative discipline

When you need to discipline your children, reinforce the concept of compassion by giving them a small taste of God’s mercy.

Biblical basis

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Suggested disciplinary action

The next time one of your children needs to be disciplined, choose a consequence as you normally would, but serve the “sentence” along with your child. For example, if a time-out is called for, sit with your child for the duration of the time-out. If the discipline is a service, such as cleaning up extra toys, then work alongside your child.

While you are doing this, explain to your child that you are treating him or her as God does, with less severity than is deserved. He or she “deserves” to bear all the discipline on their own, but you are sharing the pain of the discipline with him or her.

Also remind your child that God’s Word says that we have all sinned and deserve to die (Romans 6:23). Emphasize that God forgives us and doesn’t make us pay the penalty for our sins. Instead, He chose to take the punishment for our sins through Jesus’ death. Jesus didn’t just serve a discipline alongside us – He took our place!


Explain to your child that when God knows that he or she is truly sorry for doing wrong, God is willing to forgive him or her. Talk with your child about how we can go to God and ask for mercy when we have sinned. Encourage your child to pray a simple prayer such as, Dear God, I have sinned by ____________. Please forgive me. Thank you for showing me mercy. Amen.

Encourage your child by telling them that God wants to help us in our “time of need” (when we are tempted to sin). Affirm your son or daughter by letting him or her know that when they ask for God’s help, He will provide the strength that they need to avoid sin.

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.