One young dad suggested that the parents of today had “bought into the lie that the opposite of love was discipline.” He went on to say that it had to be a lie because we know from God’s Word that “the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:12), and “the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6).
With our heavenly Father as our example, we are required to do the same—to discipline those we love. Loving your child and building a strong and positive relationship occurs long before you are required as a parent to discipline your child. Your loving relationship develops before you ever have to set boundaries and deliver consequences. And the love continues throughout your child’s lifetime.
The purpose of discipline is to change your child’s behavior when it is dangerous, destructive, or defiant. Discipline is an extension of love. We loved our sons from the day they were born. That is when love begins—maybe even sooner. Being diligent in the task of discipline is easier when you realize that it is a display of your love. Loving discipline is modeled by our heavenly Father and is a necessary part of being a parent.
When you enforce the boundaries you have set for your child, you are not the “bad cop.” In many ways you are the “good cop,” helping your child learn to temper his strong-willed nature and use it in an appropriate way.
How would you answer this question: Do you love your child enough to maintain control?