In today’s culture, discipline is virtually a dirty word. Unfortunately; our society, in general, has forgotten God and lost their ability to think, pray, and contemplate the deeper issues of life.
In 2012; parents, and adults alike, have to exercise more proactive discipline than any time in history—simply because of the myriad of sinful things we are surrounded by and inundated with day in and day out. We no longer have to go to the seedy side of town for sin and vice or rude and crude and debauched activities and entertainment.
In order to securely raise up our families in today’s culture, we have to fundamentally change the way we approach discipline in our personal lives! Only then will our parenting be optimally effective.
The Problem is… Our Spiritual Expectations are Lower
As Christian adults and parents in today’s culture we have drastically lowered the bar of expectations–both for ourselves and our kids. We are no longer sensitive to the Holy Spirit as we once were for spiritual insights and self discipline. We are too often just as indiscriminate as the rest of the world and have allowed ourselves to be tempted unnecessarily with so much of the music we listen to; so much of the TV we watch; and so much of the Internet and movies we entertain our selves with.
Contemplation, prayer, and thinking critically, constructively, and creatively, require a great deal of effort and self-discipline many people aren’t willing to exercise. How; then, can we be spiritual leaders to our teens?
Our Actions Do Not Align with Our Words
What would happen if we exercised the same self-discipline on ourselves that we desire and require for our kids as it relates to our culture? What if we actually shielded ourselves as parents from the world’s temptations? The statistics show that Christians are not much different than the world in terms of a media diet. Doesn’t the Bible say we should flee temptation?
If you say one thing: “Do not watch R-rated movies with sexual scenes.” Yet; you allow yourself to be entertained by such films–your teen is much more likely not going to listen to your words, but to your actions.
A parent I know was watching a movie with his family. Suddenly, a sexually explicit scene came on. The father instantly told the daughter “Close your eyes you cannot watch this.” Sounds good, right? Well, he then proceeded to watch the scene while he made his daughter close her eyes. He did not make any effort to close his eyes in the least! His actions spoke much louder to his daughter’s security than his words. He did not discipline himself in the same way he expected the daughter to discipline herself. He was a poor role model.
Too often we, the parents, surround ourselves with temptations at every turn, buying into the lie that culture and media will not “affect” us. We allow ourselves to be put in situations where our actions do not align with our words–and then naively expect our teens to “do as we say, not as we do.”
The Answer is… Proactive Discipline
“A well disciplined child rarely needs punishment.”
In order to develop proactive discipline in your teen’s life, you must set examples of proactive discipline in your personal life. Everyone, parent or teen, must have proactive discipline. In general, kids must be taught how to develop proactive discipline.
Take homework for example. In general, most parents have to instill a proactive discipline into their kids in order for them to do their homework. The goal for parents is to help their child develop the habit of being responsible with completing homework assignments efficiently and on time; this way, when they go to college, they have the self-discipline of prioritizing homework.
To do this, parents may develop boundaries such as “No TV until homework is done.” In effect, the parent who teaches his son how to be disciplined in his homework will prevent his child from the “punishment” of suffering from poor academics.
How do you challenge yourself to maintain a self-disciplined life? How do you train your child to do the same?