Creative discipline

Few parents enjoy their God-given responsibility of disciplining their children, and even fewer children enjoy being on the receiving end. The Bible tells us to expect discipline to be uncomfortable, but also promises positive results. This section will provide you with innovative suggestions to use when correcting your children, to help them learn to practice forgiveness.

For problems with forgiving others

Biblical basis

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Suggested disciplinary action

To illustrate how difficult it can be to get rid of “roots of resentment” if they are allowed to grow deep, take your child into your garden or to the park and spend some time pulling up weeds. Dandelions are a good choice as they are very deeply rooted.

Explain to your child that when we refuse to forgive another person, our unforgiveness can cause a deep root of anger or resentment to grow in our hearts. God asks us to offer the same kind of grace and forgiveness to others as He has offered us.

Alternatively, you may wish to discipline an unforgiving child by having them hold a snowball or an ice cube in their hand for 15-30 seconds. After they have chilled their hand, have them run their hand under warm water. Explain that when we refuse to forgive, we are being cold-hearted like the snowball and “missing the grace of God.” Jesus wants to put His love in our hearts so that we can offer forgiveness to others. Forgiving others warms our hearts and their hearts, just like the warm water warmed your hand.


Read Matthew 6:14-15 together: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Pray with your child, asking God to give them a forgiving heart.