Christian Parenthood

Clear Instructions- A Type of Discipline

Clear Instructions
The Bible teaches that parents are to bring up their children (nourish them) in the
discipline (training) and instruction (admonition) of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). God
trains children in His ways through the parents. As parents, we are training agents
for God.In the Old Testament, Moses reminds the Israelites of their responsibilities to
their children and grandchildren. “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so
that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your
heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after
them” (Deuteronomy 4:9-10).
Shaping children`s behaviour is a gradual process and one of the ways is by giving
instructions. Parents must always tell their children why they give instructions.
When parents give children clear instructions, it makes life easier for them and for
you. Parents should not have an unreasonable expectation of their children. Parents
often feel that they know how to give clear instructions but they do not give the
child a reason or tell the child what was done correctly.
Here are some of the steps to follow when giving children clear instructions:
Look your child in the eyes when you give the instruction, address the child by his
or her name. If you don`t call the child`s name, children being who they are will
easily pass the buck to another child.
Give step by step age appropriate instructions. Never rush an instruction, take your
time and speak as clearly as possible. Have you noticed that most parents are always
in a hurry? Talk in your child`s level of language, this will help you form longer more involved
sentences. There is no point telling a 3 year old that you want your bathroom to be
spotless and sparkling clean. Those words do not mean anything to him/her.
Always give your child a reason, when children are given reasons they are more
likely to comply with the instructions even in the absence of parents.
Wait for an acknowledgement before you move on and confirm they are clear on the
instruction. Allow children to say the instruction back to you, when they say it
right, it is a confirmation that they have listened and understood.
Do a role play or practice with your child. For example, if you are teaching your
child how to wash the dishes or bath show them by example.
When the task has been completed praise them for listening well and following the
instruction correctly.
As we discipline and give instructions to our children, we must remember that we are
also under God`s instructions and must pray for the grace to comply to them.
After God had spoken the Ten Commandments with His own voice in the hearing of all
the people, and given them other laws through Moses that you can read about in
Exodus 20:22-23:19, He spoke to them about their future and made a great covenant,
or contract, with them.
Here is what God told them about their future – you will notice that there are some
commands and instructions that are a part of it:
God said: “I`m sending an angel ahead to guard you as you journey to the land I`ve
prepared for you. Listen to and obey this angel and don`t rebel against him for I
have put my name and authority upon him.” Ex 23:20-21
Now here`s an instruction: “IF you will listen carefully to him and do all that I
say through him:” Ex 23:22a
And here`s the result of obeying the instruction:
“I, your God, will be an enemy to your enemies and oppose those who oppose you.
My angel will go ahead of you into the land I`ve prepared for you, the land of the Amorites,
Hittites, Perizzites,Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out.” Ex 23:22-23
God`s instruction: “Don`t bow down and worship their gods or follow their religious
practices. You must destroy all of their idols and sacred stones. You must worship
only the LORD your God. “Ex 23:24
The result for following God`s instruction: “I will bless your food and water and
take away your sickness. I will remove all barrenness and miscarriages from you and
give you long lives. Ex 23:25-26
“I will terrorize the nations you come against and throw them into confusion. They
will turn their backs and run. I will send hornets ahead of you to drive the people
out as you go in. But I will do it gradually so the wild animals will not take over
and so the land won`t become desolate. “Ex 23:27 – 30
Noah was given clear instructions on how to build the ark. He carried out the
instructions and he reaped the consequence of obedience. God gave Noah clear
instructions how he and his family could survive and when Noah, his wife, his sons
and their wives went into the ark they had built, it was God Himself who sealed them
in. The family lived in the ark until the flood had drained away and God, who had
brought them through that ordeal, encouraged them to go out into the earth and start
a new life.
God gave Abraham clear instructions of where to go when he was asked to leave his
father`s house, Gen 12. Esther listened to the instructions of her uncle Mordecai
and carried out the instructions and she became a queen who God used to save the
Jews in those days, Esther 2- 4. Who knows what would have happened if she did not
obey that instruction.
There are various examples of how God gave people clear instructions in the Bible.
We are children of God and we depend on God`s instructions to live a fulfilled life,
how much more our children. The bible is a perfect example that we should give
clear instructions to our children and we, as parents should also obey the clear
instructions of God. Clear instructions help both parents and children to keep
focused and it is a type of positive discipline.