There comes a time in every training up when a child will need to be disciplined. As parents we are responsible to teach, train and encourage our children in proper behavior. Additionally we are called to train them up in the “training and admonition of the Lord.” *Ephesians 6:4.
Admonishment is for the purpose of instruction in righteousness. As often happens our children become anxious when expected to sit quietly for too long. Especially if they haven’t been trained from very early on to do such. Remember that consistency along with repetition are key elements in training a child in worship. They learn what is expected when we are consistently reminding them through repetition. But they also learn what is expected when we set clear boundaries and consequences for misbehavior.
Ways in which you can train your child in discipline.
The first thing that you have to do, this is very important, is to discuss with your spouse at home your plan for discipline in worship. Together, decide what your expectations are and come up with a plan. Decide and be in agreement on how to discipline, what your plan will be when discipline becomes necessary in worship.
As a wife if he has ideas other than your own, you must submit to his authority as to the Lord. You can share your ideas, concerns and even make suggestions, but when it comes to the decision if he and you are in disagreement then he has the final say.
Be sure that you both are being consistent in the expectations, the plan and the follow through when it comes to disciplining your children. This way regardless of which parent has to be the disciplinarian in the moment, you are presenting a united front.
When your child becomes too loud, take them gently by the chin and turn their eyes to yours, give them the shhh sign. If it happens again, repeat the sign again. At the third time, it is time for you to pick up your child, or take them by the hand, and walk out of the assembly room.
This does not mean you should take them away to a play room, because that does not train your child in worship, rather it rewards them with play time for negative behavior. Moms, really look inside your heart and ask yourself, “What standard am I setting for their long term goal?”
When taking your child out of the assembly the purpose is to train them to understand that their behavior was unacceptable and that there are consequences for unacceptable behavior.
First, you can very sternly explain to your child that worship is a place that is set apart to honor God and that you expect them to participate by singing, praying and listening to His word. A time out in a chair where they must be quiet for a period of time (I prefer 1 minute per year of age) before returning to the assembly. Train your child from early on in how to live the fruit produced by the righteous spirit.
The ideal place to do such a type of discipline, is a room where you can be alone with the child, not a room filled with other children. Most ideally a room that has a speaker in which you can hear what is happening in worship.
“He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” Proverbs 13:24.
Secondly, if your child refuses to be obedient to you then I am a firm believer that spanking is necessary when disciplining children. This isn’t to be used as “punishment” but rather as a form of discipline, which means training in righteousness. Your child needs to understand that disobedience comes with consequences and those consequences are severe enough to cause pain. Now I’m not suggesting that you BEAT your child. By no means should you beat your child. But I am suggesting for young children a swift swat on the behind. It will not cause undue harm to your child. It will not scar your child. It will teach them…
- You are in charge and they are not.
- That you mean what you say.
- That misbehavior comes with consequences.
- To honor and respect you as their authority.
“But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.” Hebrews 12:8-10.
Spanking should be used whenever they show any form of open defiance toward you. I believe that you should always explain why they are being spanked, followed by the spanking, followed immediately by affirmation that you love them and want them to learn to be obedient. If after, they continue to be openly defiant then you should repeat the spanking process. The goal is to teach submission.
I know. That sounds harsh. That word, submission. But we, are to submit to the Lord, wives are to submit to their husbands, and children are to obey (submit to) their parents.
Ladies, if your children cannot learn to submit to your authority, or your husbands authority, they will NEVER learn to submit to their heavenly Father. The consequences of which will lead to severe and everlasting consequences. Eternal Death. We do not want that for our children. We love them and want to see them attain eternal salvation. So we as parents have to face the uncomfortable feeling of having to discipline our children in love to teach them to submit to authority.
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peacable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11.
When we were using many of these worship training tips with our foster children, spanking was not an option. At that time we used the corner as a form of timeout, and it took a lot more repetition to be effective. I’m not saying that spanking should be used in a vengeful way or in a way meant to embarrass or belittle your child. It’s simply a form of correction and loving parents will do so as gently as possible while still teaching correction. Remember your aim, heaven. Your goal, to teach obedience to you so they understand obedience to God through Christ.
The following is a follow-up comment and response I received in regards to this series.
It’s a huge problem though (as you mentioned) when others around you don’t have the same convictions regarding training their children to worship. I would love to hear your thoughts on that. -Misty
You are so right. It is a problem. I believe there are several ways that you can approach this issue.
- First, regarding your own children, make sure that you explain to them that you are responsible for them, and you (with your husband) set the rules for them. Explain that other parents may not have the same rules for their children, but that doesn’t mean that they can disobey you because others have different rules. Remain consistent in your expectations and in your consequences.
- Second, when your child becomes distracted during worship by anything that is happening around them, gently remind them to pay attention. If they can not manage to re-focus, then follow the rules for discipline that you have set with your spouse.
- Third, Move to a different location. I suggest nearest to the front. I find that most families try to sit near the rear. By moving closer to the front you remove most opportunities for your children to be tempted by distractions.
- Fourth, This is most likely the most difficult one. Jesus told us that if our brother sin against us we should go to them and tell them their fault. Matthew 18:15. Take heed unto Christ. Sometimes an honest conversation is the best possible solution for any problem. If the parents around you are failing to honor the Father through the training up of their children then you speak the truth in love to them.
This post is the 7th part of my Training Up in Worship Series.
*Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.