The tears were coming hard and fast, air heaving into his lungs and leaving with a shudder. He had been caught doing something he knew was wrong, and then came the discipline. Most parents might leave it there, catching the bad behavior, applying the correction, and then moving on. In our house however, there is one more critical piece to the process of training our kids through what I like to call, restorative discipline.
The point is not to punish them, it’s to train them and then to restore them back to the knowledge that they are loved and cherished. We take the time to pray together about the behavior and ask the Lord to help us in the future. That prayer takes place wrapped in Mommy or Daddy’s arms, held tightly, so our child is made to feel secure. It really boils down to the purpose and spirit of how we want to raise our children. I want them to always know that no matter what happens, no matter what choices they make, whether they are right or wrong, they are unconditionally loved. The relationship is at the forefront of our minds, nurturing their heart as much as their actions.
The key for me as the parent is to focus on demonstrating the Fruit of the Spirit to my children by having self-control, patience, and kindness in the midst of dealing with their sinfulness. That’s what I, a frequent wayward child myself, am blessed with from my Heavenly Father and what I must be purposeful to demonstrate to my sons. When our purpose is to keep the hearts of our children knitted to our own as we train them in the way they should go, Restorative Discipline is the best course for showing them that they can never go outside of our affection. Our boys come away from our time of correction with a sense of calm and resolution, knowing they are the most important and cherished people in our lives and fully loved.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory. Psalm 115:1
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