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--Bible verses and excerpts on discipline and child-training taken directly from Letters by Father David and Maria

The Need to Discipline
       1. There's no "easy" way to bring up kids and keep them on the right track, except a lot of hard work and upholding and following the Lord's standard!
       2. Kids don't just automatically grow up to become wonderful disciples if they're unsupervised and untaught.--The Lord didn't make it work that way. He made it so that they require lots of effort, lots of time and lots of attention!--Which means somebody or somebodies have got to give it to them! (Maria, ML #2659:16,25, GN 459.)

       3. You have to use discipline no matter what age they are and how good they've been. Everyone needs a standard of rules to abide by! If you miss administering correction too often, you're going to eventually have a big problem to untangle. (Maria, ML #1706:4, GN Bk.18.)

       4. If you are an indulgent parent [EDITED: "or caretaker"] or are apt to be indulgent with the child and spoil him just to keep from having to discipline him, well, you may save yourself a little trouble now, but you're going to have a hell of a lot more trouble later! If you give him everything he wants and let him do as he pleases right now just to keep the peace, there's going to be hell to pay! (ML #1142:70, DB 8.)

       5. You will surely reap in your children exactly what you sow, especially if you don't discipline them!--That's your job as a parent, to train up your child in the way he should go. (ML #2066:21, DB 7.)

       6. It's the parents' responsibility to help point out their children's problems and weak areas, and when necessary, to lay down the guidelines and restrictions that the child needs.--And usually, in his heart, the child is happy for the discipline and the steps taken to help him get back on the right track. (Maria, ML #2558:26, GN 415.)

Scriptural Admonitions to Discipline Naughty Children
       7. He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Pro.13:24.)

       8. Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Pro.19:18.)

       9. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Pro.22:15.)

       10. Withhold not correction from the child. (Pro.23:13a.)

       11. Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. (Pro.29:17.)

Loving Discipline
       12. There are two basic kinds of correction: There is the training kind of correction, where you're trying to help people to see that they're on the wrong track, and gently guiding them onto the right track. When people don't even realise that they're doing the wrong things, they just need to be taught what the right things are.
       13. The other kind of correction, of course, is the kind where you have already been taught what is the right way, but you deliberately and wilfully choose to do the wrong thing.--For that kind of correction, some punishment usually needs to be attached to it.
       14. Both the instruction in the right way and the admonition for wrongdoing with attached discipline must be done lovingly. Even those who have repeatedly been very wilful and rebellious must still be treated lovingly, although sometimes chastened seriously.--Because no matter how greatly punishment is needed, the Lord indicates that He even does that because He loves us, and He does it in love. (Heb.12:6.) (Maria, ML #2620:68-70, GN 434.)
       15. Correction doesn't have to be severe and harsh and cruel. It should be loving and gentle and fulfilling and challenging! (Maria, ML #2620:65, GN 434.)

       16. For a child to be trained by love takes a lot more time and patience, but they'll be a far better child and much more obedient if they are persuaded to obey through love, rather than by breaking their will and forcing them to obey for fear of punishment! (ML #2066:30, DB 7.)

       17. Sometimes I think we push too much and that makes them push back. I remember, my mother used to say, "If you rave at a child, they will rave at you, and he'll hit back in time and you reap what you sow." (ML #1219:77, Vol. 12.)

       18. Even if you don't understand what the problem stems from, the Lord understands, and the answer is love, whatever the problem, and through His Love He can show you the specific solution. Love never fails. (ML #2066:1, DB 7.)

       19. Correction does much, but encouragement does more. Encouragement coming after censure is the sun after a shower. (ML #2066:20, DB 7.)

       20. Discipline must always be tempered with love and mercy. (ML #2066:7, DB 7.)

The Need for Patience and Understanding
       21. Communication is so important. At times of misbehaviour it's even better if you don't just punish, but especially talk about things and give the child a chance to explain himself and talk it out. Try to find out why he's misbehaving. Young people should only be given punishment along with understanding. (ML #2066:3, DB 7.)

       22. Children are so much more vulnerable than adults in a lot of ways, because they don't understand things, mostly because of their very, very limited experience. So you have to treat them even more carefully and more tenderly and more considerately than adults! Children haven't had a chance to become hardened to things and they're really sensitive and they're really very easily hurt.
       23. Children are more sensitive and more easily hurt and more fragile than adults could ever think of being, and they probably have deeper feelings in some ways too. They have a much purer love, of course, and they have a purer, more wholehearted faith and trust--and to destroy that and hurt that--that is just really sad! (Maria, ML #1396:40,42, GN Bk.18.)

       24. It's not good if the only time you sit down and talk with a child is when you're giving him a spanking or a scolding. That really isn't very good for the child, when he needs so much more love and praise for the good things he does! Children need someone to be close to, they need to feel needed and appreciated, just like everyone, and one of the best ways to show your love and concern for a child is to talk with him, hear him out, cuddle him close and let him know you're trying to help him through his battles. (Maria, ML #1706:24, GN Bk.18.)

       25. I think that's still the most important rule in interaction with anyone: Put yourself in their place and look at everything through their eyes and try to see how they see it and how they feel about it. If you were in their position, would you like to be talked to the way you're talking to them? You know you're supposed to be loving and considerate, but if you don't know how to carry that out in practical terms, just follow the rule of putting yourself in their place or "walking a mile in their shoes," and I think that should give you a pretty good indication of how to treat someone. (Maria, ML #2894:38, GN 570.)

       26. The best thing you can do is to encourage people to keep going in the right direction. Give them encouragement as the incentive they need. It doesn't really matter if you're not lecturing them each time on all the details of what they're doing wrong. They've already heard that many times before. They may not even understand everything you're trying to point out to them yet, but you've got to inspire them to keep going in the right direction first, and then they'll begin to better understand what you have to tell them.
       27. I'm not saying you should be so concerned about not wanting to discourage the person who is manifesting recurrent problems that are being worked on that you avoid or overlook them altogether. You need to mention them, but you should ask yourself, "What can I find positive about this situation?" and then emphasise that positive [EDITED: "aspect"]. There must be something positive! If there isn't anything positive about that day, maybe there was something positive about yesterday. Emphasise whatever you can find that's positive, with just some slight mention of the negative, just to let them know that you're aware of it and you love them anyway.
       28. I don't think we need to emphasise or harp on the negative at all! If you've been working with them on their problem for a while, they probably already know practically everything there is to know about their problem, so they're just discouraged about it when they slip and fall back into it. When you're on the "hot seat," so to speak, it may seem like everybody's pointing their finger at you and that anytime you come around, everybody's first thought is, "Oh, how are they doing?" or "Are they really going to be able to change?" (Maria, ML #2649:55,57,58, GN 453.)

       29. Try to remember how you felt when you were 18 [EDITED: "or 4, or 8, or 12"], how you wanted people to treat you. Who did you look up to the most and why? It was probably because of their positive interaction with you and good open communication. They most likely treated you with respect and consideration. (Maria, ML #2894:39, GN 570.)

Children Need to Understand the Rules and Why They Are Being Corrected
       30. The best kind of correction should be chastening or child training, something that will teach them something, train them and help them to learn the lesson, and help them never to make the same mistake again. (ML #2066:40, DB 7.)

       31. We are to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.--Ephesians 6:4. Nurture means feeding, nourishing, feeding them on the Word. And admonition, what is that?--Warnings, you've given them good discipline, you told them what is right and what's wrong and you've disciplined them, you have admonished them, you've warned them of not doing wrong, and that if they do wrong they're going to suffer the consequences, the punishment. (ML #2429:29, GN 342.)

       32. You have to do just like God does: First He lays down the law and the rules and tells you, "Now if you be good and obey these rules, you'll have certain privileges and blessings and be allowed certain things and be able to eat of every other tree in the Garden, but just don't eat of this one. You can have all the rest of these blessings, just don't fool around with this one because it's dangerous! But if you do, this is what we're going to do about it." (Gen. 2:16, 17.)
       33. Now you don't want to be unreasonable in your prohibitions and pass unreasonable laws that are almost impossible to keep because it's just against human nature. If you ... make your laws too strict and too stringent, it's almost impossible for anybody to obey them! If you lay down a law or a rule that the child just can't possibly meet, too high a standard, then you're just making him a criminal, so to speak.--You're making him break it because you've made the commandment too high, he can't keep it.
       34. So you've got to sit down with them and talk it over, then lay down the law and let them know that this is right and this is wrong.--You like this but you don't like that, they can do this but they can't do that. And if they do the right thing you'll reward them just like God does, but if they do the wrong thing you warn them in advance that you're going to punish them, and you hope that this fear of punishment or retribution is going to deter them, or keep them from doing it. (ML #1142:73-75, DB 8.)

       35. We need a lot more love and patience and prayer and reasoning with our children if we're going to really teach them why they must do so-and-so and help them understand why it's necessary. Not always just say, "Do it!" and swat them if they don't.
       36. "Train up a child in the way he should go." (Pro.22:6.)--It takes time and patience and understanding and lots of real love to train a child, instead of just knocking him around and violently forcing him to do things he doesn't understand or thinks are not right or unfair. (ML #718:104,105, Vol.6.)

       37. I used to tell my children in my first family, "Why did Daddy tell you not to go across the street?--Because I want to be mean to you and I don't want you to have any fun? Why?--Because I don't want you to get killed, that's why! Because I love you!--And I am going to whip [EDITED: "spank"] you the next time you go across the street without permission and without anybody with you!" Why was I going to whip them? (Fam: Because you loved them.) Exactly, that's the main reason. (ML #2522:10, GN 382.)

Every Child Is Different
       38. Every situation is different, and parents are different and children are different and there are almost as many different ways of dealing with children as there are children in the World, so that we simply are not able to deal with them all exactly the same way. (ML #1142:68, DB 8.)

       39. Each child's discipline must be tailored for his particular needs, his individual personality! A lot depends on the child and what really gets through to him. (ML #2066:12, DB 7.)

       40. Every case has to be judged on its own merits. You can't just say, "These children you should spank, and these children you shouldn't." It just depends on the individual. (Maria, ML #1396:89, GN Bk.18.)

       41. There is no one rule or single method that applies to all children! Every child is different, and the way they're handled has to be tailored to their individual needs and the severity of their problems, and their attitude toward them, as well as their personality. For example, what if two children have committed the same offense? How seriously you deal with them would depend on not only the gravity of the offense but whether they have a history of such misbehaviour or whether it's their first time. You would need to take into consideration what their recent attitude has been, also what is their present attitude during correction: Is this offense just another symptom of their rebellious attitude?--Or is it something that caught them in an unguarded moment? Are they easily convicted with just a word?--Or do you have to apply the rod to get through to them? Your treatment of your children must be prayerful and led of the Spirit! (Maria, ML #2631:6, GN 446.)

Have Mercy! Avoid Legalism!
       42. In your disciplining you have got to decide on what rules must be obeyed without fail and without exception, and what rules can be sometimes relaxed and exceptions made. And you have to have the wisdom of God to know the difference.--Which ones you must enforce without fail and which you can be merciful about.--When to stick to your guns and when to sometimes encourage them and agree to do things their way. (ML #2066:24, DB 7.)

Harsh Discipline Is Not the Family Way
       43. Correction must be done lovingly.--Firmly, yes, but lovingly--without harshness or raised voices. You can lay down the law, or issue an ultimatum to someone without yelling or screaming at them. You can do it very gently and lovingly. Anyone administering any other kind of correction than that is out of line.
       44. You'll get your point across a lot better if you do it lovingly. In fact, if you yell at them, they may be so scared and fearful they won't even understand anything you're saying anyway!--All they'll get is the harsh, severe overtones and harsh spirit of it, which will only make them fearful, and will not teach them. However, if you can lovingly correct your people, they will leave the correction with the feeling of having been in a class and having been challenged to do better for the Lord, to go on to the next grade. (Maria, ML #2620:66,67, GN 434.)

       45. It just breaks my heart when I see [EDITED: "non-Family"] parents in the supermarket just cuff a little boy on the head or slap'm around, it's so so sad! It really makes me cry!--Or when people just lash out at them over something that the poor children didn't understand in the first place. It's really tragic!--How much people are going to have to answer for because of the way they mistreated children who didn't know any better! (Maria, ML #1396:41, GN Bk.18.)

       46. Even if you have to give an ultimatum or enforce a serious disciplinary measure, you can still let love be your guide. (Maria, ML #2649:38, GN 453.)

There Comes a Time to Lay Down the Law
       47. Perhaps in some Homes the children haven't had enough Word over the years and they lack spiritual depth, so it's harder to convict them for their sins and mistakes by using the Word, which would be the best and is the most ideal method. However, if bad behaviour has persisted and the children are rowdy and unruly, you can't wait until you've invested years of grounding them in the Word before you begin to discipline them! The thing you need then is firm definite discipline in order to keep order within the house! Even many Worldly homes have some sort of order and peace in their house so the home is not in complete chaos!
       48. The Word, of course, helps motivate the children to do the right thing, and that, along with the rod, is definitely the long-term solution to the problem. But the immediate solution is strong discipline for unruly children.
       49. Ideally, we're to try to explain things to children and help them to understand why they did wrong and take the time to reason with them, but if you've got a major problem on your hands and lots of screaming kids and they're already unruly, rowdy and undisciplined, then it's not time to explain.--It's time for laying down the law! Once you've got them in order and in line and more obedient, then you can start investing more time to train them more thoroughly the way they need to be trained. (Maria, ML #1707:11,12,19, GN Bk. 18.)
       50. Be sure your first admonition is loving, gentle and prayerful and with a good reason, a cheerful warning as to why. But if they persist, sock it to them. Do it in love as the Lord does (Heb.12), and if you really love them and they know it and love you, they'll eventually keep your commandments. (Jn.14:15.)--And everybody will be happier in the end. (ML #2066:28, DB 7.)

       51. We do not put up with foolishness or rowdy, mischievous, naughty, disobedient, wilful, stubborn and rebellious behaviour in anyone. Warnings are usually needed to give the person time to make the choice for themselves to change for the better. But if not, "The rod of correction will drive it far from him." (Pro. 22:15.)
       52. There is such a sin as having too much patience. There are a lot of times you shouldn't have patience because you need to nip things in the bud and not wait too long. You need to ... correct problem situations before they go too far. (ML #2066:5,8, DB 7.)

       53. Don't let your children get away with a deliberate wrongdoing. You'll be sorry if you do! Don't be too harsh and severe, but after a repeated warning where you've made it very clear what you mean and they really understand what you're talking about--if they keep right on at it, wilfully, knowingly and defiantly doing it to see if you really mean it, then you've gotta show'm you mean it! (ML #2066:42, DB 7.)

       54. That's the only kind of discipline that works: The kind where you mean what you say and you keep your word, and your kids know it, and they know if they do that and get caught they're really going to get it.
       55. The moment a child finds out, whether he be a [EDITED: "young child"] or a teenager, that your "no" doesn't really mean "no" and that your threat of punishment will not really be carried out--the minute he finds out that he can get away with it--he'll do it again! And the worst of it is that even if he doesn't always get away with it, even if he only gets away with it once, he'll always try again, hoping that this is another time he can get away with it! (ML #1142:79,80, DB 8.)
       56. If after a warning and repeated counselling they go ahead and do it stubbornly, rebelliously, wilfully anyway, you finally have to lower the boom and apply the rod, as God's Word says. It's very very Scriptural, and if you don't do it, you're going to be sorry.
       57. You cannot threaten judgement and then not carry it out! Law without enforcement is no law at all. Many a time I have wished that I didn't have to enforce my own laws upon my children and I've tried to sort of get out of it. But once you let them get away with it and they find out you're not going to enforce it, then there's hell to pay because then they figure they can get away with it every time. (ML #2066:35, 36, DB 7.)

       58. Better never to have promised that spanking than promised it and not given it!--Because then your child will really know you're a liar and you don't intend to keep your word and you're a very lax parent! Disciplining a child is hard work, just as hard, if not harder, on the parent than on the child! Spanking and lecturing and punishing and keeping up with a child and catching him in everything he's done wrong is hard work! You can't let him get away with a thing, otherwise you'll end up with a spoiled child who thinks he can get away with murder, and sometimes he might!--Or try to! (ML #1712:29, GN Bk.18.)

       59. We need to learn a few things from the System! They have what is known as suspended sentences for first-time offenders. But the next time you're caught for this offence or any other, you will be sentenced not only for the crime you commit next time, but this sentence will be invoked and added to it! (ML #1712:13, GN Bk.18.)

Evaluating and Dealing with Problem Cases
       60. If [EDITED: "people"] are willing to work on their problems and they improve little by little, even if they may have some temporary setbacks, if their spirit is right, then of course we are going to have mercy on them and take whatever time is needed with them.
       61. So I think it's very very important that we make the distinction clear here, the major distinction, between the problem that Dad is attacking in his Letter [EDITED: ""Grumblers Get Out," ML #2716, GN 482"] and the other, less severe problems that our younger generation--as well as we adults--often experience.
       62. We also have to ask ourselves, what have they done about those problems; have they made sincere efforts to overcome those things? Because if they've really made sincere efforts, then you know the Lord has helped them in some way. So the connected question is: How have they improved over this long period of time, what improvement has been made?
       63. Another thing to ask ourselves is, how responsible and how accountable are they?... Are they a mature adult whose emotions and intellect are thoroughly developed, and they understand things but they just refuse to obey?--Or are they a [EDITED: "preteen"] or teen who is still growing and who still doesn't understand a lot of things, and is really searching for answers, and not just misbehaving because they want to be bad, but because they don't yet understand or fully realise just what the Lord expects and requires of them?
       64. The Lord definitely deals with people according to their accountability. Jesus said that the servant who knew his Lord's Will but purposely and defiantly disobeyed, "shall be beaten with many stripes" (or many strokes). But the servant who did not know his Lord's Will, but committed the same disobedience, "he shall be beaten with few stripes.--For unto whomsoever much is given, of the same shall much be required!"--Luk.12:47,48.
       65. If a person just goes year after year without any progress, then there's really no question about what should be done with them. When someone's just a drag and a drain and refuses to work on their outstanding problems or change or yield or improve at all, we can only conclude that, because we've already given them so much time and so much patience and they still haven't changed, they're probably not going to change.--Because they don't want to change!
       66. When dealing with our [EDITED: "preteens'"] and teens' problems, what we do all depends on how serious their problems are, and how they are affecting the rest of their peers and the rest of the Family. [EDITED: "Preteens"] and young teens are learning and growing, and they usually have one problem after the other just because that's the way they learn. The way they grow is through having problems and being helped through those problems. So the fact that young people have problems is not really such a negative thing, because if they have someone to help them and they're willing to be helped, it certainly turns into a positive thing in the long run, and the Lord uses it to make them much stronger and to really get through to them and teach them the things He wants to teach them. Another way that the Lord turns a seemingly negative problem into something positive is that He will often use one person's problems to teach valuable lessons to a whole group of their peers.
       67. Most of the time a youth's problems are not all his fault, they're hardly ever all his fault. Therefore, we take more time and we have more patience and tolerance with kids, with young people, because we know that often their problems have stemmed from others' problems, and that gives us more sympathy for them and more patience with them and we can usually take longer dealing with them and helping them over their problems. Of course, ultimately they have to make their own decisions about what they want to do. (Maria, ML #2717:16,17, 28,30,32,43,63,74, GN 484.)

The Importance of Unity and Consistency
       68. You cannot have any link broken in the chain of discipline, because one person who fails to discipline the child can undo all the good training that all the others have put into him. Lack of unity and cooperation between parents or among parents and teachers destroys any possibility of training and discipline. If any one person having to do with the care or discipline of that child fails to do so in their term of childcare and lets that child get away with things that the others wouldn't let him get away with, that child is going to develop that weakness in that spot with that person which is going to destroy all the rest of the discipline, because if he thinks he can get away with it once, maybe he can get away with it other times, other places, with other people. That's where the lack of cooperation between parents on child discipline, the lack of unity destroys any possibility of training that child and disciplining that child if parents disagree. (ML #1708:78, GN Bk.18.)

Agreeing on a Home Standard
       69. Regardless of what you do and how you do it, it's an absolute necessity, especially in a large Home, to have some sort of united disciplinary measures in order to have some order in the Home, and later in their lives [EDITED: "your children will"] be glad you did!
       70. Put down specific guidelines and it makes things so much easier! The kids can't do it alone, so make it easy for them to be good! Lay down rules! If it doesn't work, then get together and change your method! "Okay, kids, we need to change a few rules now because it wasn't working the old way."--But we can't make exceptions for disobedience! You can use extra prodding as an inducement to obey, or persuasion, but however they're treated, they all need to obey.
       71. It's also best, if possible, that the older children at least attend the meeting and agree to the rules or have their own meeting, and even make up some of their own rules, if possible. Not only the adults should agree to the rules, but you should give the kids some say-so too. Let them make their own rules within reason and decide what punishment they think they deserve if they disobey. But remember, kids are normally harder on themselves than you would be. Give the children a chance to speak up too, let them learn to help make decisions. (Maria, ML #1707:19,30,7, GN Bk.18.)

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