Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Don't make me count to three!"

This past weekend I read Don't make me count to three! by Ginger Plowman. This is a practical book focussing on "heart-orientated" discipline of children, similar to that outlined in Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp, but from a Mum's perspective. One section of the book focuses on how to give a biblical reproof, in other words how to use the Bible to correct your child when they go wrong, and to show them how they should behave. She emphasises the importance of this in the discipline process, and gives several helpful guidelines for verbal correction. In particular, she emphasises that we must choose the correct tone of voice.

Left to myself, my natural inclination is to raise my voice when my daughter is misbehaving, and I have seen this recommended on several of the popular "Nanny" TV programmes that seem to fill our screens. In contrast, Ginger Plowman states:
Make a conscious effort not to scold your child. You are ready to reprove your child biblically when you can speak to him in a normal tone of voice and with carefully measured words.
She quotes from H. Clay Turnbull who, in 1891, wrote:
Scolding is, in fact, never in order, when dealing with a child or in any other duty in life. To "scold" is to assail or revile with boisterous speech...Scolding is always an expression of a bad spirit and of a loss of temper...If a child has done something wrong, a child needs talking to; but no parent ought to talk to a child while that parent is unable to talk in a natural tone of voice, and with carefully measured words.
As I have thought about this, I realise she is absolutely right. If we are disciplining our child for misbehaving, we must verbally correct them so they can see where they have gone wrong and how they should have behaved. Doing this with a raised voice, harsh tone or wagging finger does not convey the information any more effectively, but it does convey that we have lost our temper. Discipline should not be an outlet for our parental frustration, but a "self-controlled act of love" whereby we teach our children how to live the way God wants them to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog.
God bless you.

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