There are so many great thoughts and ideas about parenting, and I am so appreciative to the many parents who have come before me taking the lumps, the bruises, the bumps, the agony and the tremendous time and energy to raise their children.
Like many of you, training (my alternative to discipline) I believe begins at birth. And, in light of that one of the greatest pieces of counsel I received as a new dad was straight from the scripture: "bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Training and instruction, over and over and over! Raising children is like sharpening a sword, you don’t just run the blade over the stone once, you go back and forth and back and forth until it is sharpened. Then, at times the blade becomes dull so you repeat!
With three children all about two years apart we have a spectrum of chances to train and instruct. At times it goes wonderfully...give instruction once and they follow. At other times it is like the two-year-old from the previous post, it takes multiple times to remind them of their instruction. But, like the author stated, we as parents decide the direction the child should go and that is the way we go.
Another verse in 2 Timothy comes in to play and that is "doctrine, reproof and instruction regarding salvation in Christ, which is training in righteousness".
1) As parents we give the doctrine (instruction, the way we would like them to follow)
2) If necessary, if they do not follow we reprove them by giving them the doctrine again and asking for their submission
3) Ultimately, if they have been given instruction and they decide to continue going their own way we correct them.
Training them up in regarding the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ (his work saved us, not ours), is our instruction as parents. As parents we were never given the direction to "make our children obey". This was given to them. We give them the opportunity to obey, stick with our instruction and they ultimately will obey.
I don’t believe I have everything "figured out" but I do love the blue-print our Father God has given. There is a reason we do not see a lot of specific instruction in the new testament regarding raising children because the general idea of raising our children up in Christ was enough. God desires to work in each and every parent to help them understand their very unique and wonderful child. God is the ultimate parent, the most wonderful, loving, forgiving, long-suffering and faithful parent of all. He desires that all of us raise our children in the manner that blesses him because ultimately all of our children were designed to transition from our authority to His. As we work with him to raise our children up to submit and obey us then this will surely go well with them and their relationship with their heavenly Father.
Praise God for his perfect plan to save us through Christ's work!