Lesson 3 Day 3

14

[Day 3] Both Sides of Discipling — the Characteristics of the Parents and Children

Because both the parents and the children are different, discipline can be grouped into different categories. The parents and the children each have their own characteristics. Every child has his innate nature, some are active and some are quiet in nature. Per a thirty-years of study by the American experts, there are nine different natural characteristics in children.  They have grouped the children into three types of category accordingly: 1) mild tempered and easy to care for, 2)  shy and cower, 3) difficult to raise.

First type, children who are mild tempered and easy to care for. Their characteristics are that they eat, sleep and play well. They are always happy and in a good mood.

Second type, children who are shy and cower. These children are quiet and shy. For example, if the mother wanted the child to greet someone, the more the mother urges the child to do so, the more the child would shrink back and hide behind the mother. It’s not that he doesn’t want to obey, but it is by his nature.

Third type, those who are difficult to raise. They have a difficult time to adapt, cry easily and are hard to comfort. Usually, this type of child has some physical conditions. Some who were born premature could be this type of child.

To see the three types of children is not for us to judge which type is better, but to clearly see that each child is different by nature. The parents need to know their children’s unique nature and thus care for them accordingly.

The parents can also be grouped into three types of categories: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. Because of the differences in the parents’ nature, education received, and the environment they grew up in, the way of discipline is also different.

The authoritative parents care and understand their children. They would also spend time with them. However, they set limits and rules on their children and thus became their authority. They would give their children a certain degree of freedom that is determined by them. This kind of parents in their caring and raising of their children would also have appropriate demands, controls and expectations on their children. They would explain the reason for the things they asked for. For example, there would be a discussion with everyone in the family on whether a child needs to purchase a computer or not. After such discussion, the parents would make the final decision. The children who grew up in this kind of family would have self-constraint and confidence, good adaptability, strong social skills and thus being very useful in society.

The parents who are authoritarian have absolute authority, but do not express love, understanding, and compassion toward their children. Thus, the children would always obey their parents but do not know how to make decisions on their own. The traditional Chinese parents are this kind of parents. The children who grew up in this kind of family would be quite obedient and usually do well in school, but lack confidence.  For example, what college to choose from, what kind of people they should marry, these are all decided by the parents, having no opinion of their own. This kind of child lacks social skills.

The parents who are permissive love their children more than their spouse and everyone else. They often felt helpless in dealing with their children. After the children grow up, the children do not respect their parents. This kind of child lacks competitiveness in society and cognition, also lacks self-constraint and confidence. In the world today, there are more and more parents who spoil their children. The children are the centrality and universality of their lives. Supposedly, the relationship between permissive parents and their children should be good; however, the parents often felt powerless in raising their children.  

Such parents usually become sorrowful later regarding their children. The children become less useful in society. They do not have self-discipline, lack confidence and do not know how to deal with other people. At home, they were spoiled, everything went their way; however, in society, there are rules that they have to follow and they don’t know how to deal with them. Overall, the children who grew up in this kind of family usually end up either like a little tyrant or a little lamb.

Children need discipline. The two gifts parents give to their children are love and discipline. Therefore, parents really need to be adjusted and taught in the Lord to learn how to shepherd and discipline our children according to God.