Sunday, August 10, 2014

Homeschooling the Strong-Willed Child: Loving Discipline
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that I hope will be helpful to YOU!

I'm convinced that every family has one!  This is the child who is determined, strong-willed, confident, and independent!  We may look at these traits as negatives BUT steered in the right direction can become wonderful qualities.  Welcome back to my series, "Homeschooling the Strong-Willed Child."  In this series I will share with you tips that I have used both in my classroom and home.

Today's focus is on loving discipline.  This post is inspired from a simple sentence I often tell my children, "Mama loves you too much to let you be a stinker."  Even though I know they don't quite understand this yet I want them to know this sentence and grow into the understanding of it.  I discipline you BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!

Loving discipline is what children need as they grow.  Let us commit to loving our children enough to say, "NO, STOP, or OBEY."

Paul Wegner author of "Wise Parenting: Guidelines from the Book of Proverbs" discusses levels of discipline based from the book of proverbs.  I have not read his book in its entirety although I appreciate what he had to say and thought it would be appropriate for this series!

He discusses three levels...level one TEACH,  level two WARN, and level three ENFORCE.  Below is a practical example of the three levels.

(The example below was taken from chapter eight of, "Good: the Joy of Christan Manhood and Womenhood" a FREE ebook from

“For example, here’s how this might play out if you are in the grocery store parking lot with your three-year-old:

1.You may TEACH your child by saying, “Please hold Mommy’s hand while we walk into the store. This is a parking lot with lots of moving cars, and I want you to stay safe.”

2. If you feel their little hand tugging out of yours, you may WARN your child by saying, “Do you see that car? You could get very hurt if you do not hold onto my hand. Please hold my hand, or if you choose to disobey,
[fill in the blank].”

3. If your child pulls their hand out of yours and darts through the parking lot, you may ENFORCE your guideline by saying, “You did not obey Mommy. You pulled your hand out of mine and ran in the parking lot. So
since you chose to disobey, [fill in the blank].”

As time goes by, there should be more teaching and less enforcing. The early years require a shorter distance from levels 1 to 3 (i.e., from teaching to enforcing), often getting to level 3 regularly. Parents may tend to warn, warn,
warn, and rarely enforce. They may repeatedly say, “If you do that again, then [fill in the blank].” But these often become vain threats with no real sting.”

It goes on to give helpful suggestions for each level.  Please see the excerpt below!

“Level 1. Teach
Parents must clearly explain to their children what they expect from them (cf. Proverbs 1:8–9). This takes so many forms, and it happens in every venue of life as parents spend time with their children (cf. Deuteronomy 6:6–9). Parents should . . .
·      Talk about the gospel and how it applies to all areas of life
·      Teach values by modeling for their children what they expect from their children
·      State rules to their children
·      Explain those rules
·      Encourage and affirm their children
·      Explain improper behavior in neutral contexts
·      Connect sin with its consequences so that children see sin’s long-term effects

Level 2. Warn
Warning can save a person from danger (Proverbs 2:12a, 16a). God is patient and kind with us, and we should be patient and kind with our children.  We need God’s wisdom to know when to warn instead of enforce. When we warn, we clearly tell our children what will happen if they do not heed our warning. We warn about both short-term and long-term consequences. Short-term consequences include how we will enforce our guidelines if they break them.

Level 3. Enforce
Wise parents are concerned primarily about their children’s heart, not their external obedience (Proverbs 4:23). We don’t want children who are merely externally compliant like good Pharisees or like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son.  But external disobedience evidences heart problems. They are an opportunity to deal with heart issues. And when children disobey their parents, parents need God’s wisdom regarding how to enforce their guidelines.” 

I hope these suggestions will help you as you demonstrate loving discipline to your strong-willed child!


  1. It is sure interesting, learning how to best parent =) Thanks for these ideas!

  2. Thankfully we can ask for wisdom from the Lord! Thanks for following along!


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