Punishment or Consequences?Aug 22, 2020
We have said it before, but one of the fundamentals of God's love for us is free will. It gives us the choice... of our choices. The things we suffer are not always punishments that God imposes on us but very often, the simple consequences of our choices.
"Choose life, not death! This passage from Deuteronomy 30:15-19 reminds us that God sets before us the choice of our destiny. He gives us the means to choose life by having assured the cost of our salvation. The price was paid, Jesus gave His life for us. We simply have to choose to recognize Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
This approach is excellent when we think about the education of our children. An education based on fear we inspire in them is built around the punishments we choose to impose on them. A punishment that "falls" without the child having time to understand what he has done, without having been given the choice to choose his actions only serves to reinforce this notion of fear in his heart. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of being loved only if they are well behaved. The fear that the love given by their parents, and therefore by God, is conditioned by what he does. The fear of never being good enough... ever.
The first time a child makes a mistake, take the time to explain what they did wrong, why it wasn't good and don't forget to explain the right way to act the next time so they can make a choice because they understanding the consequences of their choice.
For example, if you ask your child to take part in a household chore, you can tell them: "Your job is to empty the dishwasher. When you have emptied the dishwasher, you can play half an hour on your tablet. If you choose not to empty the dishwasher, your tablet will be confiscated for the rest of the day and tomorrow. It's your choice."
You may have to empty the dishwasher the first few times, but after two days without their tablet, you will find that this responsibility of emptying the dishwasher will become more attractive to your child.
Be consistent... This is often the challenge for parents. Do not give in, do not lighten the consequences that you had decided on... Always do what you told them. Do not take the risk of sending the message to your child that they can escape the consequences of their choices by imposing their will.
For children, punishment breeds fear and they doubt their worth.
Understanding and experiencing the consequences of one's own choices teaches your child what life is like, empowering and equipping them for their life, for today and their future.
Rachel Miquel Dufour
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