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Purposed Parent Connected Child Podcast Episode 070 - Do You Correct or Punish When You Discipline?

Purposed Parent Connected Child Podcast Episode 070 - Do You Correct or Punish When You Discipline?

Welcome to the Purposed Parent/Connected Child podcast – Episode 070 – Do You Correct or Punish When You Discipline?

Most adults easily remember how they were disciplined as a child. I remember getting grounded a lot. Before you wonder how I could be so much trouble, let me share that my parents believed in what they called, “reverse psychology parenting.” Not to say that I was an innocent victim. There were times I should have been corrected, but I wasn’t caught. However, I was often grounded when I didn’t do anything wrong. Let me give you an example:

One particular weekend my parents held a swim party for several of their friends. You know how excited kids can get at big events or parties. Many of the guests’ children were running on the pool deck, jumping over the heads of people seated poolside. Even though my siblings and I were not involved in this behavior, my parents grounded me for two weeks in an attempt to show the other parents how to discipline. They hoped their action would spur the other parents to reprimand their children as well.

I believe my recollection is a great illustration of “parenting to punish,” not disciple. In the early years of parenting my first set of children, I didn’t repeat this particular style of parenting, but the way my husband and I were raised did influence the way we disciplined our children. Because of the way we were parented, I thought discipline was supposed to punish the child for unwanted or incorrect behavior. However, what I learned over the years led me to parent my second set of children differently. My belief now is that discipline is not meant to punish, but to disciple.

Let me explain what I mean. The word disciple means to teach or train. When a child exhibits behavior a parent doesn’t want repeated, the first thought might be to get that action or activity stopped. Because parents often fall into the trap of wanting to stop unwanted actions and just get moving to whatever activity needs to be tackled next, it can become easy to forget to look behind the behaviorfor the reason the child is acting a particular way. It’s like when you get a toothache. The first thing you want to do is get the pain to stop. It’s usually later that you wonder why your tooth started hurting. In the same way, a mother that doesn’t parent with the purpose of connection will see a behavior and issue a punishment to stop her child’s actions immediately. Or the parent may issue punishment thinking the child will learn not to repeat the particular behavior. However, a connected mother who parents to discipleher child will search for the reason behind the behavior.

I once listened to a podcast with Candice Owens in which she shared her belief that this generation of children is “the coddle culture," because of lack of discipline, and that is true in various ways. I understand what she is saying, but I also believe children are receiving the wrong typeof discipline. We must reach their heart in order to changebehavior and build Christlikeness. Often mothers will parent the behavior, but you need to reach the motives behind what your child is doing.

Using this train of thought, I often refer to discipline as discipling. God wants us to address ungodly or incorrect behaviors. We don’t want to ignore actions that sin against God or form bad character. In the Bible, those parental deficits always led to much trouble. However, I do believe God calls mothers to disciple, or train and teach, not simply jump to punishments that skim over the heart of behavioral or character issues.

Let’s discuss practical ways parents can disciple the heart instead of punishing behavior:

1. Focus on changes in your behavior – Discipling starts with you. Work to build a connected relationship with your child. Spend time with your children, understand how they are wired and what gives them joy, what scares them, etc. Help them know how important they are to you. Let them know you want a good relationship and give them tools to build a solid one throughout the years, but always point everything to Christ. Although you want them to love and obey you, teach them there is a higher authority even more important to know, love, and obey - Jesus. Many times a child misbehaves because they want your attention. In their mind, any attention is better than none.

2. Focus on changes you can make in the home – Make godly boundaries, be attentive and consistent, be God-centered - not “you” centered, love your children without placing conditions on your affection. Prepare your kids for challenges they will face in life through Biblical wisdom, insight, and guidance. Know that sometimes your child will suffer consequences of actions and you might need to help, but don’t jump in too soon. The best lessons are learned through godly principles that come to maturity through pressure.

Some other behaviors you may need to assess and change are:

1. Yelling – A quiet or normal voice draws more respect, love, and obedience than a loud one. If you’d like to hear more on yelling, please listen to the Purposed Parent Connected Child Podcast episode #064 “Stop Yelling So Your Child Can Hear You.”

2. Hitting – Sometimes when parents don’t know how to handle a situation they resort to hitting. Physical correction will never get to the heart issue behind the behavior. When a parent hits, slaps, or spanks on impulse to correct or stop behavior, I believe the attachment and connection between parent and child is weakened and that there may be additional behaviors for the parent to deal with in the future.

3. Threatening – Simply issuing threats without acting on them shows a child that the parent is not in control and may cause the child to lose respect for the parent. If you issue a threat, it should be a well-thought out instruction, not an act of intimidation or a command you forget later.

4. Excusing – If you excuse every behavior your child exhibits, you deprive your child of many character qualities, behavioral changes, and life lessons.

5. Laughing – When you laugh at the behavior your child exhibits, you reinforce whatever they are doing.

6. Filming – Just as the act of laughing at your child reinforces incorrect actions or behavior, recording every mistake your child makes or behavior they shouldn’t be doing teaches them that they will get rewarded for incorrect actions. Most of us have seen reels on social media where the parents share bad behavior or mistakes made by young children. If you study the eyes of the child shown, you’ll usually see confusion. They probably can’t tell whether they are in trouble or should repeat the behavior so mom can get more likes and follows.

Now that we’ve discussed ways you can correct, insteadof punish behavior, and you can more easily recognize ways you might self-sabotage godly parenting, let’s discuss some of the reasons a child might misbehave.

1. Ignorance - Your children need to be taught how to act. So often parents forget that this is the first time their child may have encountered a situation. Your child might not carry the necessary skills to navigate what they are experiencing.

2. Negligence – As we stated earlier, children need connection. If they don’t receive it at home, they will seek it elsewhere or through methods that may be harmful, dangerous, or incorrect.

3. Boredom and/or Over-Stimulation– Sometimes kids just get bored or over-stimulated. There is a beautiful balance that gives a child enough attention and enables them to use imagination and creativity, without being over-stimulated by electronics or too many activities. It greatly benefits a child when the parent finds that balance.

4. Confusion – Sometimes children don’t understand instructions the first time. Teach your child to ask questions when they are unsure. You can also issue steps for a task one at a time. Or have your child return to you for more instructions after they have finished a couple of steps you have instructed. The way you teach will change over time as your child matures and as you better connect and understand their emotional intelligence and capabilities.

5. Needs Skills - I remember the first morning we brought my youngest daughter home from China. On that day, I found her in my office lighting matches. At the time, I kept a small candle and a book of matches in a desk drawer. I loved lighting the candle while I was working. There were no very young children in the home anymore, and everyone who lived here knew about fire safety. Except my new daughter. Even though she was nine years old, she had never been exposed to a lit match. She wasn’t a bad child looking for trouble or a budding pyromaniac. She simply had never been taught about fire safety.

6. Needs Redirection – Kids mature at different paces. Depending on background, temperament, abilities, and parenting styles, children may not hit the average guideline for maturity or understanding in an area. I often compare my two-year old Golden Retriever to a toddler. When he sometimes gets excited and zooms around the house without stopping, I know how to redirect him to a place of calm. Children sometimes need mother to patiently redirect them to stop certain behaviors.

7. Insecurity – It’s not only teens who feel insecure at times. Of course, the preteen and teen years make kids feel like a target for attention is pasted on the middle of their back. They think everything revolves around them and that everyone is laughing or looking at them. But younger children, and even adults can sometimes feel insecure. Don’t let your insecurities affect your relationship with your child or the way you disciple them for Christ.

Although I’ve learned to parent from a place of attachment due to adoption, I strongly believe that even biological children need many of the same parenting techniques. I view it simply as connected parenting. Godly mothers should seek to build connection to Christ and their children moment by moment. Attachment is key. Attachment is an emotional and deep connection that forms between the parent and child early in their time together, while bonding is a process that takes place over time. Also involving emotions, but building upon shared experiences together, bonding builds mutual trust, love, and devotion. I like to think of our walk with Jesus in the same manner. At first, we attach to Christ through our walk with Him, but our relationship gradually bonds us as we purposely share time with Him in the Word, through prayer, devotions, sharing and testifying, etc.

Also remember that children may sometimes exhibit undesired behaviors caused by mental, emotional, or physical issues. If your child persists in undesirable or confusing behavior, it is wise to consider the possibility that your child may be dealing with one or more of the following needs:

1. Sensory Processing Disorder

2. Anger

3. Fear

4. Depression

5. Anxiety

6. Shame or Guilt

7. Motor Skill Difficulties

8. Cognitive Impairment

9. Medical Needs

As you strive to be a connected mother who is consistently attuned to your child, you will look beyond behavior to discern what your child is telling you through actions. Those actions are exposing a need. Although the need may be hidden, the behavior cannot be ignored.

A connected mother has discipleship foremost on her mind, not punishment or a desire to stop an annoying or embarrassing behavior. The actions of your child will provide important clues that should be noticed and acted upon with sensitivity and grace intent on meeting the heart needs of your child.

What are a few ways to look beyond behavior to identify the needs of your child?

1. Prayer – God made your child with uniqueness and purpose. He understand every need your child carries. He alone is the best source of wisdom to train and correct your child.

2. Allow Personal Growth – Sometimes the actions or words coming from your child will hit an emotional need inside you. It may be one that triggers painful memories, fears, or emotions. When that happens, you will have the opportunity to address those feelings or emotions within yourself and seek godly help or healing. This is a positive step in not letting your behavior teach your child wrong habits or cause you to react in ways that make the behavior of your child intensify.

3. Look for Patterns – For example, does your child misbehave every time you are separated? Or do you notice the actions when your husband is gone? Does the behavior start when company is over, or when your children are playing together? Identifying patterns will help you begin to pinpoint what is causing negative behaviors or building the wrong habits.

4. Set Your Child Up for Success – Don’t cause power struggles. Give choices when you can, and communicate expectations well. Know that some behaviors and solutions will ebb and flow as your child goes through age and developmental stages, but do not neglect to build godly character through patient and grace-filled discipleship.

Dear Heavenly Father, we humbly come before You, knowing we are nothing without Your mercy, grace, and love. Thank you for the patient discipline You offer. Thank you that you are always “on call” for us to reach out, asking for Your wisdom, insight, and knowledge. Help us to read, understand, and remember the lessons You teach in Your holy Word. Enable us to practically use those lessons to shape morals and values in the hearts of our children. Give us the desire to seek You in all things, knowing You are the expert of each person in our home. You hold the key to behaviors and can unlock even the hardest challenges. Help us to become godly mothers who have sought You and taught You to our children. Help us to never forget or neglect the sacred privilege we have to raise the children You have entrusted to us. May we do so with skill and wisdom from You. Help us to disciple children straight to Your heart and feet when we correct their behaviors. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Supporting and encouraging mothers to rest in Christ and pursue a holy relationship with Him so they purposely raise set-apart children is the cry of my heart. I believe godly parenting is rooted in relationship with Christ and the mindset a mother carries. That’s why I’ve created the Set-Apart Collective. Have you decided peers and culture won’t be the main influence over your child? Would you like to parent to prepare your child for eternity with Christ, not to repair a relationship? In the Set-Apart Collective, you will deepen your walk with Christ, learn a Christ-centered Motherhood Mindset Model, and create a Purposed Parenting Plan. You will be a purposed mother with an intentional mind and heart set on Christ and your family. The Set-Apart Collective wait list is open now. The first group of women is currently growing together. Please send me an email at to let me know you’d like to receive information. It’s time for believing mothers to be purposed in preparing their children for a lifetime pursuit of Christ.

If you connected in some way with this episode, would you please rate and review the podcast on Apple or Spotify? It only takes a minute or so and makes a big difference in people finding the podcast. You and I know that the best reviews are by word of mouth, so would you please choose a friend to recommend the show to? Let them know that the podcast is found at, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify. Imagine the change we will see in the way mothers parent for Christ if they learn to be intentional, too.

Remember, if you’re not purposed in knowing Jesus and showing Him to the next generation, the world will likely sway your children away from Christ. I pray that what you hear on this podcast enables you to stop being a good mom and focus on being a godly parent. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to parent with eternal purpose and connection.

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