There are people who say that children ought to “submit” to their parents and “obey” as soon as they are told to do something. If the children do not comply immediately and cheerfully, they deserve to be punished, swift “correction” with a “rod” in order to “train” them.
I expect they will say that what I have written below will teach my children that they do not need to listen unless they understand and I am fostering a heart of rebellion in them. I know that I for one do not “submit and obey” to God immediately and joyfully in all that I do even when I don’t understand why. I should, but I don’t. And God is gracious and kind and patient with me anyway. How is it right for me to be more harsh with my children than God is with me?
There are ways of setting up a situation to create conflict and there are ways of setting up a situation so you peacefully connect with the person you are relating to. I do not see anything wrong with approaching the children in such a way that diffuses conflict rather than creating it. I hope that the way we do things at home sets an example and creates lifelong habits of relating to other people in a peaceful way.
Avoiding conflict can be extremely unhealthy and that is not what I am advocating. Being peaceful in the way the Bible teaches is an active thing, not a passive thing. Creating peace takes a lot of work and it is not something that comes naturally to me so I am still learning every day.
Here is one practical parenting idea that has come in handy over and over again: Google Images.
My children hate having their nails cut. Once they were too old for me to cut their nails while they were nursing without noticing, it became a battle. I hated it, they hated it.
One way some parents deal with this is to hit the toddler on the thigh or other body part till they sit still. Some parents do a more “formal” spanking with a spatula or a “rod” of some sort till the children are “obedient” and “submit.” Too many times, I have witnessed or been part of this scenario. It is miserable.
Last year, I was talking to my 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, trying to explain to them why I needed to cut their nails as they yelled “Noooooooo” and I was becoming discouraged and angry.
Then an idea came to me. I whipped out my phone and googled “longest fingernails in the world” and showed the results to the kids.
We scrolled through several hundred results, squealing and screaming the whole time, and then I read them some news stories about these people and how difficult it is for them to have long nails (difficulties with eating and sleeping, driving, getting into car accidents, etc.). It didn’t take too long before they were all begging me to cut their nails.
This past week, my kids all ended up getting pink eye. With all the wailing and flailing, it was impossible to get them to stay still long enough to drip anything in their eyes. Then, we did this.