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First Aid Parenting

First Aid Parenting

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Published by ChristianBrockmann

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Published by: ChristianBrockmann on Jan 16, 2012
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12/21/2012

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There are a few awkward situations in life that make
us all uncomfortable, and here is one of them. You are at
a friend’s house, or in a public place, and a child starts to
misbehave. We’ve all been in that position before, haven’t
we? The child misbehaving doesn’t usually bother me too
much; I’m always just glad that it is not my child causing
the scene that day.
The awkward part begins when the parent either
ignores the blatant rebellion, or comes down on the
kid with a crushing blow to their spirit. I feel terribly
uncomfortable when another parent is, in my opinion,
unduly harsh with their child. I cringe and fdget and
just want to be anywhere but there. It is terrible. Likewise,
when the parent is conciliatory toward a rebellious child,
I feel like screaming, “Would you please do something to
make that kid stop?” Both extremes are awkward, and they
typify why the subject of discipline is so complex and full
of emotion. One parent’s defnition of harsh might be
another’s defnition of lenient.
Disciplining a child is like using preventive medicine!
When a child is disciplined lovingly and consistently, he or
she is being trained to be a good, moral and law abiding
adult. Shawn and I don’t like to send our daughters to the
corner, or to ground them from an activity, but we know
that it is in their best interest. I can’t count how many
times I have told them, “I don’t like to punish you, but it
is my job, as your mommy, to help you to grow up to be

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a nice lady.” They hear it often, but they probably won’t
understand until they are nice, grown up ladies!
When doling out some preventive medicine, fnding
the balance is really important. Children are very trusting
of their parents, and it is easy to crush their spirits if they
are treated harshly.
At the same time, it is our parental duty to provide them
with a framework in which to live and act. I’ve certainly not
been a model parent in this area, but my goal is simple.
When disciplining our children, our motto is “kind but
frm.” I have literally chanted these words to myself, teeth
clenched, as I’ve faced a defant little angel!
Shawn and I are both strong-minded (read: stubborn)
and, not surprisingly, so are our two offspring! When
things get really heated with our girls, I send them to
their rooms for a time out and, more often than not, it is
because mommy needs a time out to think things over and
cool down, too.

Preventive medicine is part of the burdensome side
of parenting. Finding the right balance, and consistently
adhering to it, can make the difference between a happy
home and a miserable one. “Kind but frm” is the balance
that we are comfortable with in our home.
There are many days when I wish that I didn’t have
to discipline my girls. I wish that this preventive medicine
would be a little less painful, or that maybe we could just
skip it altogether. I know that if it were put to a vote, the
girls would certainly relegate it to the history books. It is
easier to not discipline. Consistent, fair discipline takes a
lot of work. In the short term it is much easier to let things
slide.

Our children are only perfect when they are sleeping,
and I regularly have to act as referee around our house.
On innumerable occasions I have been in the middle of a
task, answering an e-mail or getting dinner ready, when a

PREVENTIVE MEDICINE

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fght breaks out upstairs. I hear Natalie holler, or Naomi
squeal, and I cringe!
I want to ignore it, pretend that I didn’t hear it and
actually fnish an entire job without an interruption. I
wait awhile and see if they resolve it themselves, but if it
continues, I wearily march upstairs and dish out a little
preventive medicine. It would be so much easier to let it
slide, but in my heart I know that I would be doing them
a disservice. The consequences of fghting with your sister
are much easier to take than the consequences of fghting
with your boss.

It is much better that they learn the consequences for
their actions now, in the confnes of a loving family, rather
than later as an adult where, in the real world, long-term
consequences are harsh. It is better that they learn not to
“borrow” a toy from the kindergarten room, than to reap
the consequences of stealing in the adult world. The Bible
is clear when it says in Proverbs 13:24 (ESV):

“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is
diligent to discipline him.”

The idea of using a rod is unthinkable to most
modern parents, but the principle is the same: if you fail
to discipline your child, you are shortchanging them.
Like anything worth having in life, taking the time for
preventive medicine isn’t always easy, but it is the right
thing to do.

So, how do the roles of mom and dad differ when it
comes to the issue of discipline? Typically, the dad is the
“alpha male” in the family, and the children look to him
for guidance and a strict adherence to the family rules of
conduct. Perhaps this is because fathers have deeper voices
and are generally less involved in the daily nurturing of
children. The traditional role of the father gives him a

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voice of authority. In our family, Shawn is Mr. Fun! He
loves to play and goof around, but he is also the fnal court
of appeal when it comes to discipline. The girls know that
when daddy asks something of them, he means it, and that
disrespecting him is not an option. It is better that they
learn to respect their parents now, than to learn the lesson
later when disrespecting a police offcer or a judge. The
Bible has some very clear instruction for fathers. Ephesians
6:4 (ESV) says:

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring
them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

God desires that fathers raise their children, teaching
them in love how to be responsible adults, and also to
learn of God and His love.
The mother’s role in teaching and correcting the
children is equally important. We work together to
provide a consistent and united front. With Shawn gone so
often, the bulk of the correction and teaching of the girls
becomes my responsibility. Sometimes I feel like I have to
be the big meanie, and then he comes home and gets to
be the fun parent!

My feelings aside, I know that it is important that our
family expectations and rules are consistent, even when
daddy isn’t home. My approach to specifc situations
might be different from his, because by my nature I am
the nurturing, caregiving parent, but the principles that
I follow are the same. Also, the children know that daddy
stands behind my decision, even if he is not home.
From my point of view, it is unhealthy for one parent
to undermine the wishes of the other. Preventive medicine
is ineffective when children receive inconsistent, or
contradictory doses! I have seen the pain and confusion
that it causes.

PREVENTIVE MEDICINE

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A child that grows up in a family where one parent
disrespects and contradicts the other is learning to
disrespect and belittle their future spouse. It sets the child
up for an unhappy home life in the future, and it is a
terrible inheritance.
Consistent preventive medicine lovingly, kindly and
frmly given by both parents gives the child an inoculation
against future heartache. It isn’t always easy to administer,
but the results last a lifetime. Proverbs 22:6 says:

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old
he will not turn from it.”

This is a promise that we can claim and then cling to.

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