Encourage Your Children
By bro Lee Tian Seng
God instructs fathers not to provoke their children lest they become discouraged.
Colossians 3:21 - Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Though this instruction is given to fathers, it also for mothers who are responsible to bring up their children. If children are not to forsake the law of their mother, then it implies that mothers are to partner fathers in raising up their children.
Proverbs 6:20 - My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother.
Some parents use scolding and spanking to discipline and correct their children. Not that we should not scold or spank our children when they misbehave, but we should not only use these methods. Excessive scolding, without praises when our children do right or well, does not help in motivating our children. Excessive or unreasonable spanking of our children will just make our children fearful of us. They do not understand what their mistakes are and do not learn anything from their mistakes.
Some parents do not realise how discouraging it is to their children to always receive harsh discipline. Parents should balance punishment with reward, and scolding with praise. God, our Father, uses punishment and reward in His dealings with us. There are other ways that parents provoke their children to anger or dismay.
Some parents correct their children’s mistakes and embarrass them in the presence of others. This especially hurts a child when done in the presence of his or her friends. If a mistake needs correcting, do it in a way that shows the child that you still love him or her.
Some parents make passing remarks about their children as a joke. Everyone has a good laugh, but the child feels miserable and embarrassed. We can have humour and crack jokes, but it should not be at the expense of hurting our children.
Some parents always compare their children with other children. They think that the comparisons can spur their children to do better. However, such comparisons usually cause them to be stressed and result in the loss of their self-esteem. Each child is unique in his or her talents, and one should not compare the child to another to provoke him or her.
We should use the Word of God to discipline our children instead of provoking them with our ineffective ways.
Ephesians 6:4 - And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
God also wants us to discipline our children because we love them. So, we need to ask if the way we discipline our children demonstrates our love towards them. Or if it is just to satisfy our selfish interests or personal goals.
Hebrews 12:5-6 - And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 - Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.