Friday, June 1, 2012

Crushing a Child's Spirit

We want to be careful not to crush a child's spirit while we are training them but instead help to shape their will. Our culture teaches us it is okay to haphazardly parent but we need to be purposeful instead:

"... do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4)

Examples of crushing a child's spirit includes:

  • punishing for disobedience and childish "accidents" in the same fashion
  • verbally demeaning them
  • punishing while angry

We need to train our children rather than provoke them.

How to not crush a child's spirit:

  • Carefully select your tone of voice and words when your child disobeys (this will reinforce their personal responsibility of choice and the consequences that will follow thereafter) .
  • nurture your child's curiosity for life by allowing them to ask questions with freedom
  • understand the difference between willful acts of disobedience and unintentional accidents. 
  • allow your children to fail without becoming angry

Children will fail and sin--there is no question about it. We need to be prepared on our end by responding biblically and not just reacting.

We definitely want to avoid raising children that merely have an external compliance. It's easy to become focused solely on trying to conform their outward behavior. We need to remember to nurture the heart that encourages children  to do what is right because they love God, as their behavior will flow out of the heart. (Mark 7:21)

It's been said:

"Man cares about externals, but God cares about inner qualities. Man values beauty, brains, wealth, and power; God values a pure heart. Integrity and faithfulness have greater value to God than success."

In the midst of it all we need to show our children their own sinfulness and need of a Savior.

Parents, if you have been crushing your child's spirit, go to them and ask for forgiveness. Let them know that you need a Savior too and that is why Jesus died for you as well. Children are very resilient and forgiving. Let them see the transforming work of Christ in your life too. Pray together that the Lord would help you to encourage and build him up from this point on.

God is a forgiving God and He can make all things--even your parenting, new.

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  1. Thank you, Ashley, we are still working on the blog and appreciate the feedback. Thanks for commenting and hope you visit again soon!

    Many blessings...

  2. Such wonderful wisdom. I always try to speak to my children the way I want to be spoken to. Soft spoken and well thought out correction will go so much farther than words spoken in anger and hast. Thank you for sharing.


  3. Thank you for sharing this reminder- especially about the importance of not just being concerned about outward compliance but that we would guide them and teach them about the change of heart that God does within us when we accept His gift of salvation. This post was so encouraging- thank you!

  4. Loved what you said about 'responding biblically, not just reacting'. Encouraging post and thumbs up on the new layout!

  5. Thank you so much for this! We have a 2 year old and this has been on my heart lately! I would love to read more on this topic!

  6. This is so true and gently put to encourage moms.

  7. I agree with you in some cases. But a child should be punished for something done wrong, or else they will never learn that they have done wrong. There should never be childish accident's, because a child will respect and learn from these things, after they have been punished. One should never be angry, but a firm, not soft voice, will teach your child also that God is firm and will later on have a no mercy on the sinner's. Your child should know what he or she is being punished for. A parent who punishes their child is doing so out of love and consideration for their child.
    Please respond,

  8. I needed this. I am pg with my fourth in 5 years and have been in a constant pg, nursing, pg & nusing cycle without a "break" at all. My youngest is teething and we're dealing with a boat load of food allergies with her that we found out about a week after getting a positive preg test. Tired and hormonal don't even begin to describe me lately! To saythat i have been a little short with my older two is a slight understatement and evidently it sets the tone for dh also b/c he's been the same way. I picked up a new family devotional book i bought tonight before bed i hopes that we can start tomorrow. That paired with an actual decent night's sleep for everyone might just be the reset burron we need.

  9. I especially like this one: "nurture your child's curiosity for life by allowing them to ask questions with freedom."


  10. Dear Anonymous,

    If you read the post carefully it does not say to not punish them at all, instead it says:

    "punishing for disobedience and childish "accidents" in the same fashion"

    That means, for example, when a child accidentally spills milk on the table due to clumsiness it is not treated the same as them willfully disobeying--such as through lying, stealing, etc.

    Hope that helps!

    Many blessings...

  11. As a mom who has this on her heart, I can testify that God will and can give you the wisdom to punish for each situation as it arises. This is my shortcoming, and such a BIG GIANT one I often feel I can't overcome. It's so discouraging sometimes. Praying for my shortcomings, admitting them and going to prayer over them with my children has helped us all...

    Our children are our disciples. And as such Jesus' models for calling the disciples to follow him even until their death is a very strong witness for us as mothers. - RK


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