Because of sin, all of us rebel against authorities and God. As parents quickly discover, children are no exception. These little “angels” assert independence by rebelling against rules from a young age. But the Bible instructs parents to discipline children out of love, molding them into Christians who strive to obey God and respect other people. Use these strategies for dealing with rebellion as children grow:
- Birth to 2 years: Accept that God gives even newborns the ability to display unique temperaments. Provide lots of comfort and warmth.
- 3 to 4 years: Listen carefully and respond to children’s physical and emotional needs. Explore what upsets them. Model Christ’s love by giving kids affection.
- 5 to 7 years: Offer choices and clear consequences for disobedience. Balance your demands with warmth and reason.
- 8 to 12 years: Consistently enforce rules. Let children know you trust them, and praise them for a job well done. Evaluate tough situations and ask what kids can do differently next time.
- In a survey of 2,000 parents with children ages 2 to 11, 38% said they use the same discipline method as their own parents did.
- Parents report using the following discipline methods frequently: time-outs (42%), removal of privileges (41%), sending to bedroom (27%), yelling (13%), and spanking (9%).
- One-third of parents believe their discipline approach is ineffective.