If we are not responsible for our children’s actions and behaviors, then who is?
As parents, we tend to think that our children’s actions and behavior directly reflect our parenting skills or lack thereof. And in some instances, this may be true. We may find ourselves as adults making excuses when we behave badly in front of others. But we are not responsible for how they act; we are responsible to them – meaning, we have a responsibility as their parent or caretaker to teach them, guide them, and emulate good behavior, especially when disciplining. When they deliberately choose to do wrong when they know they shouldn’t, it is not always our fault, and sometimes, they must suffer natural and logical consequences. Natural and logical consequences are great tools in our disciplining arsenal.
Although we are not entirely responsible for our children’s actions, there is one area in life where we are held responsible. The laws of society say that parents are legally responsible for their minor children’s actions in civil and criminal court, regardless of whether it was intentional or accidental. This is another reason to ensure children we are disciplining our children early so they understand that their family is at stake in more serious matters.
“For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” – Colossians 3:25.
During this episode, Lee Ann elaborates on these helpful guidelines to remember when disciplining children:
- Be clear about our expectations and what is expected of them.
- Provide guidance and support without being overbearing.
- Let them make mistakes and learn from them – don’t rescue or bail them out every time.
- Encourage them to be independent and responsible.
- Instill values like honesty, integrity, and respect for others.
- Encourage them to think for themselves and make their own decisions.
- Be patient as they learn to make responsible choices, and don’t forget to praise them when they do.
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