April 22, 2004
Ginger Plowman, Author, Speaker, Assistant Director with Proverbs 31 Ministries
Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37, NIV)
It is so easy for the weary mom to fall into the trap of repeating her instructions. We are sometimes just too tired to follow through with consequences when our children disobey, so we hope that if we give them one more chance, they’ll comply.
“If you don’t start sharing your toys right now I’m going to send them all off to kids who will share!” the threatening parent says. However, repeating instructions over and over or making threats teaches children that Mommy doesn’t mean what she says. How many of your parents, in an attempt to persuade you to appreciate your toys, talked about the kids on the other side of the world who didn’t have any toys? But how many of your parents actually packed up all of your toys and shipped them off to Timbuktu?
Avoid saying things that you don’t mean. Recently I caught myself threatening my children. I said, “If you don’t get your room clean, you are not spending the night with Nana and Papa tonight.” But I knew good and well that I wasn’t about to forfeit my date night with my husband in order to follow through with this threat! We are to say what we mean and mean what we say or we can exasperate our children. It’s hard to take a liar seriously.
In studying some the most admirable and successful generals of our country, I have found that they all had one thing in common: they were certain of their commands before they issued them. Soldiers do not respect or respond well to an uncertain and inconsistent leader. Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 14:8, “For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” (NKJ)
Likewise, when mom issues half-hearted commands to her children and doesn’t require her children to follow through immediately, she sends them mixed signals. Not only will this sort of leadership earn mom the “most wishy-washy in command” medal, but will also cause her children to question their own positions in the family. They will become uncertain of when and how to respond to mom’s instructions. This can lead to insecure children who are unsure of their own actions. However, when we lead our “troops” with confidence, they find security and stability in their call to obedience.
Therefore, we should never issue a warning or a command without following it through. This rule of thumb requires that we think before we speak. Try not to say “yes” or “no” to something until you are sure that it is your definite answer. According to Proverbs 15:28 it is biblical that we not speak before thinking: “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers.” Let us weigh our answers, give confident commands, and raise up a mighty army for the Lord!
My prayer for today:
Lord, help me to raise strong and confident children. Help me to say what I mean and mean what I say. When I’m weary, help me to follow through with consequences when my children disobey rather than giving them to the count of three, threatening, or repeating my instructions. Help me to consistently parent with love and self-control. Amen.
Sit down with your children and ask their forgiveness if you have not been consistent in training them to obey. Explain that you love them too much to allow them to disobey. Go over the new rule--they are to follow your instructions “all the way, right away, and with a joyful heart.” Follow through with consequences when they do not comply with the new family rule. Be consistent.
Do I repeat my instructions over and over thus causing my children to be inconsistent in obeying?
Do I make empty threats? Identify those threats.
Am I being obedient to God in training my children to obey my authority? How?
Are we (as husband and wife) on the same page in our parenting? Do we need to establish a “discipline plan” for our family?
Colossians 3:20, Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (NIV)
Ephesians 6:4, Fathers [and mothers], do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV)
Proverbs 29:15, The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. (NIV)
Proverbs 22:6, Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (NIV)
Proverbs 22:15, Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. (NIV)
Don’t Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Plowman
Reaching the Heart of Your Child video series by Ginger Plowman
Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes
Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman