As my family grew bigger since that time, it became clear that discipline and order was essential for the sake of peace and joy in our home. We established rules of respect for us, as parents, and them as children and towards each other as siblings. My husband and I recognized and embraced the importance of teaching the children as young as infancy, by the time they turn five, being respectful is a habit they can't get rid of!
Between years of our first child to our middle, the scripture I struggled with so long ago, became very clear in it's meaning.
"He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" - Proverbs 14:15
Our motivation for teaching our children the way we have been comes from many sources, the Word of God and our own personal experiences being some of them, but mainly I have to say from witnessing other parent/child relationships...family, friends, and strangers alike.
Children as young as three, hitting, yelling and cursing at their parents and parents tolerating such behavior. I've had friends and family express such frustration with dealing with their children and their personal relationship with them. They end up "tolerating" children to the point where, their relationship with them becomes a functional one, instead of a loving one. Eventually, the relationship continues. The child and the parent become set in their ways. I even heard a family member express hatred towards her own child.
Discipline, which is teaching, is a vital tool that can mold, shape and bless a child's future, yet when one hears this, it is received as something negative. Proverbs 14:15 makes it clear that withholding this vital tool is akin to hatred. Upon first glance at the scripture, it's hard to see the principle behind it, considering our profound love for our children. Nonetheless, that love can grow cold if a child is not taught (tolerating) or corrected in their behavior and mannerisms on a consistent, productive basis.
Today, I have seen the consistent manifestation of this scripture, and it is my motivator in raising my children. When I have discussions with them, I always try to explain the consequences of their choice behaviors, not only for them, but to who they are exhibiting it too. I do have to admit, that I truly enjoy them and my relationship with each one. My oldest child, who soon will be fourteen, is a wonderful person and I enjoy listening to her thoughts and opinions immensely. We have wonderful and fun relationship.
I receive many, many comments on the fact that I have five children and expecting my sixth, most of them are not positive. "You must be crazy!" "I don't know how you do it! I can't even handle one child!"
Well to those who think I've gone off the deep end, this is how I do it...
"Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul" -- Proverbs 29:17
I wish to express my recognition that the issue of discipline today is varied, wide and comes with in many semantics and forms. Discipline, which is socially thought of as physical, especially in the biblical sense simply means correction and teaching.