Dan’s Online Diary 

# 2.11.05 by Michelle

Man, figuring out how to discipline Toby is difficult. Dan and I are reading the book "Shepherding a Child's heart" and watching the video series to go with it. I agree with what the author - Tedd Tripp - says. In fact, I think it is brilliant. Basically the idea is to bring everything back to God and the Scriptures.

Say if two kids are fighting over a toy, most of us (including me) would have said something like - 'Who had it first?' or 'please share darling?' Or, 'why don't you take turns at having the toy?' etc. Tripp says this is all wrong because you are only changing the behaviour and not the heart. So instead he suggests pulling your child aside and explaining to them from the scriptures, using an appropriate verse such as Philippians 2:3 & 4 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others or James 4:1 - What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?

After you have done that you talk about the themes of redemption, how there is hope for us in Christ and then pray with the child. Obviously this is not always possible depending on where you are.

But the thing I am really struggling with is smacking. I mean, Tripp says that only way to discipline children under 4 years is by giving them a smack. No such thing as time out, grounding, naughty mats etc.

Tripp says a smack always involves first explaining to the child what they did wrong (can use scripture) and get the childs acknowledgement of their disobedience, then tell them how many smacks they will get and then after give them a big hug and tell them you love them (and never bring it up again). Sweet, sounds simple... right?

So if Toby starts struggling when I change his nappy and i tell him no. Then if he does it again, he gets a smack, right? I find that so hard, can Toby understand why I am giving him a smack? Then, sometimes Toby squeals and it is hard to tell if he is just playing with his voice box or complaining or squealing with delight. I want him to stop squealing but I can't really tell him off because if I do what God does and try to look at Toby's heart, I don't know if he is actually complaining or not. So what do I do then?

I would love to hear from you guys what you think about all this. How did your parents discipline you? Do you think it worked (by working I mean, did you understand your disobedience in the light of Scripture and did you understand that Mum and Dad were in authority over you and they were in control of their discipline tactics etc.) What about a wooden spoon, rod (!) or other device? Or is using your hand the best?

So many questions.....

Have a great day everyone