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 harmony.
“Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.”
Instead of solving your children’s problems for them when they come to you with complaints about each other, have them sit down on the couch and spend time talking it out. Encourage each child to be patient and calm while they discuss the problem.
Only allow your children to resume playing when they have come up with a solution that they both agree on. Compromise can come quickly when offending parties realize they are both missing playtime! Younger children will likely need your guidance during their discussion.
Take time to explain that with peacemaking, everyone wins, whereas with discord, everyone loses. This is illustrated in a practical sense with the “couch” discipline. When they fight and argue, they both end up on the couch and lose valuable play time. If they choose to play together peacefully, then play time remains uninterrupted and they both win. To drive home this point, you may also choose to remove the object that caused the strife, be it food, toys or another privilege.
After the discipline is completed, affirm your children with Matthew 5:9:
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.” Tell them that blessed means happy. Pray, asking the Holy Spirit to help all of you to be peacemakers so you can live together happily and be called sons of God.
“Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended. He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.”
Send the teaser or mocker out of the room.
Read Romans 8:6-8:
“The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace… Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”
Explain to your child that having their mind (including thoughts and attitudes) controlled by the Holy Spirit is a choice. God is not pleased when he/she chooses to tease or fight with a sibling. Encourage your child to pray with you, asking God to send His Holy Spirit to inspire them to choose peace.
You can also reward gracious speech with special treatment. Have your child imagine what special treatment a friend of the king might get (Proverbs 22:11). He may wear a crown, get carried in a chariot, or have a bubble bath. Reward your child with their choice of treatment when they speak in a way that demonstrates their desire to live at peace with others.