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Child Guidance

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    Chapter 44—Administration of Corrective Discipline

    Ask the Lord to Come In and Rule—Exact obedience in your family; but while you do this, seek the Lord with your children, and ask Him to come in and rule. Your children may have done something that demands punishment; but if you deal with them in the spirit of Christ, their arms will be thrown about your neck; they will humble themselves before the Lord and will acknowledge their wrong. That is enough. They do not then need punishment. Let us thank the Lord that He has opened the way by which we may reach every soul.1Manuscript 21, 1909.CG 244.1

    If your children are disobedient, they should be corrected.... Before correcting them, go by yourself, and ask the Lord to soften and subdue the hearts of your children and to give you wisdom in dealing with them. Never in a single instance have I known this method to fail. You cannot make a child understand spiritual things when the heart is stirred with passion.2Manuscript 27, 1911.CG 244.2

    Instruct Children Patiently—The Lord wants the hearts of these children from their very babyhood to be given to His service. While they are too young to reason with, divert their minds as best you can; and as they become older, teach them by precept and example that you cannot indulge their wrong desires.CG 244.3

    Instruct them patiently. Sometimes they will have to be punished, but never do it in such a way that they will feel that they have been punished in anger. By such a course you only work a greater evil. Many unhappy differences in the family circle might be avoided if parents would obey the counsel of the Lord in the training of their children.3Manuscript 93, 1909.CG 244.4

    Parents to Be Under Discipline to God—Mothers, however provoking your children may be in their ignorance, do not give way to impatience. Teach them patiently and lovingly. Be firm with them. Do not let Satan control them. Discipline them only when you are under the discipline of God. Christ will be victor in the lives of your children if you will learn of Him who is meek and lowly, pure and undefiled.4Letter 272, 1903.CG 245.1

    But if you attempt to govern without exercising self-control, without system, thought, and prayer, you will most assuredly reap the bitter consequences.5The Signs of the Times, February 9, 1882.CG 245.2

    Never Correct in Anger—You should correct your children in love. Do not let them have their own way until you get angry, and then punish them. Such correction only helps on the evil, instead of remedying it.6The Review and Herald, September 19, 1854.CG 245.3

    To manifest passion toward an erring child is to increase the evil. It arouses the worst passions of the child and leads him to feel that you do not care for him. He reasons with himself that you could not treat him so if you cared.CG 245.4

    And think you that God takes no cognizance of the way in which these children are corrected? He knows, and He knows also what might be the blessed results if the work of correction were done in a way to win rather than to repel....CG 245.5

    Do not, I beg of you, correct your children in anger. That is the time of all times when you should act with humility and patience and prayer. Then is the time to kneel down with the children and ask the Lord for pardon. Seek to win them to Christ by the manifestation of kindness and love, and you will see that a higher power than that of earth is co-operating with your efforts.7Manuscript 53, 1912.CG 245.6

    When you are obliged to correct a child, do not raise the voice to a high key.... Do not lose your self-control. The parent who, when correcting a child, gives way to anger is more at fault than the child.8The Signs of the Times, February 17, 1904.CG 246.1

    Scolding and Fretting Never Help—Harsh, angry words are not of heavenly origin. Scolding and fretting never help. Instead, they stir up the worst feelings of the human heart. When your children do wrong and are filled with rebellion, and you are tempted to speak and act harshly, wait before you correct them. Give them an opportunity to think, and allow your temper to cool.CG 246.2

    As you deal kindly and tenderly with your children, they and you will receive the blessing of the Lord. And think you that in the day of God's judgment anyone will regret that he has been patient and kind with his children?9Manuscript 114, 1903.CG 246.3

    Nervousness Is No Excuse for Impatience—Parents sometimes excuse their own wrong course because they do not feel well. They are nervous and think they cannot be patient and calm and speak pleasantly. In this they deceive themselves and please Satan, who exults that the grace of God is not regarded by them as sufficient to overcome natural infirmities. They can and should at all times control themselves. God requires it of them.10Testimonies For The Church 1:385.CG 246.4

    Sometimes when fatigued by labor or oppressed with care, parents do not maintain a calm spirit, but manifest a lack of forbearance that displeases God and brings a cloud over the family. Parents, when you feel fretful, you should not commit so great a sin as to poison the whole family with this dangerous irritability. At such times set a double watch over yourselves and resolve that none but pleasant, cheerful words shall escape your lips. By thus exercising self-control, you will grow stronger. Your nervous system will not be so sensitive.... Jesus knows our infirmities and has Himself shared our experience in all things but in sin; therefore He has prepared for us a path suited to our strength and capacity.CG 246.5

    Sometimes everything seems to go wrong in the family circle. There is fretfulness all around, and all seem very miserable and unhappy. The parents lay the blame upon their poor children and think them very disobedient and unruly, the worst children in the world, when the cause of the disturbance is in themselves. God requires them to exercise self-control. They should realize that when they yield to impatience and fretfulness, they cause others to suffer. Those around them are affected by the spirit they manifest, and if they in their turn act out the same spirit, the evil is increased.11The Signs of the Times, April 17, 1884.CG 247.1

    There Is Sometimes Power in Silence—Those who desire to control others must first control themselves.... When a parent or teacher becomes impatient and is in danger of speaking unwisely, let him remain silent. There is wonderful power in silence.12Education, 292.CG 247.2

    Give Few Commands; Then Require Obedience—Let mothers be careful not to make unnecessary requirements to exhibit their own authority before others. Give few commands, but see that these are obeyed.13The Signs of the Times, February 9, 1882.CG 247.3

    Do not ... in your discipline of children release them from that which you have required them to do. Do not let your mind become so absorbed in other things as to cause you to grow careless. And do not become wearied in your guardianship because your children forget and do that which you have forbidden them to do.14Manuscript 32, 1899.CG 247.4

    In all your commands aim to secure the highest good of your children, and then see that these commands are obeyed. Your energy and decision must be unwavering, yet ever in subjection to the Spirit of Christ.15The Signs of the Times, September 13, 1910.CG 248.1

    Dealing With a Negligent Child—When you ask your child to do a certain thing, and he answers, “Yes, I will do it,” and then neglects to fulfill his word, you must not leave the matter thus. You must call your child to account for this neglect. If you pass it by without notice, you educate your child to habits of neglect and unfaithfulness. God has given to every child a stewardship. Children are to obey their parents. They are to help bear the burdens and responsibilities of the home; and when they neglect to do their appointed work, they should be called to account and required to perform it.16Manuscript 127, 1899.CG 248.2

    Results of Hasty, Spasmodic Discipline—When children have done wrong, they themselves are convicted of their sin and feel humiliated and distressed. To scold them for their faults will often result in making them stubborn and secretive. Like unruly colts, they seem determined to make trouble, and scolding will do them no good. Parents should seek to divert their minds into some other channel.CG 248.3

    But the trouble is, parents are not uniform in their management, but move more from impulse than from principle. They fly into a passion and do not set an example before their children that Christian parents should. One day they pass over the wrongdoings of their children, and the next day they manifest no patience or self-control. They do not keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. They are often more guilty than are their children.CG 248.4

    Some children will soon forget a wrong that is done to them by father and mother; but other children who are differently constituted cannot forget severe, unreasonable punishment which they did not deserve. Thus their souls are injured, and their minds bewildered. The mother loses her opportunities to instill right principles into the mind of the child, because she did not maintain self-control and manifest a well-balanced mind in her deportment and words.17Manuscript 38, 1895.CG 249.1

    Be so calm, so free from anger, that they will be convinced that you love them, even though you punish them.18Manuscript 2, 1903.CG 249.2

    Inducements Are Sometimes Better Than Punishment—I have felt such a deep interest in this line of work that I have adopted children in order that they might be trained in right lines. Instead of punishing them when they did wrong, I would hold out inducements to them to do right. One was in the habit of throwing herself on the floor if she could not have her own way. I said to her, “If you will not lose your temper once today, your uncle White and I will take you in the carriage, and we will have a happy day in the country. But if you throw yourself on the floor once, you will forfeit your right to the pleasure.” I worked in this way for these children, and now I feel thankful that I had the privilege of doing this work.19Manuscript 95, 1909.CG 249.3

    Deal With Wrong Promptly, Wisely, Firmly—Disobedience must be punished. Wrongdoing must be corrected. The iniquity that is bound up in the heart of a child must be met and overcome by parents and teachers. Wrong must be dealt with promptly and wisely, with firmness and decision. Hatred of restraint, love of self-indulgence, indifference to things of eternity, must be carefully dealt with. Unless evil is eradicated, the soul will be lost. And more than this: he who gives himself up to follow in Satan's lead seeks constantly to entice others. From our children's earliest years we should seek to subdue in them the spirit of the world.20Letter 166, 1901.CG 249.4

    The Rod Is Sometimes Necessary—The mother may ask, “Shall I never punish my child?”CG 250.1

    Whipping may be necessary when other resorts fail, yet she should not use the rod if it is possible to avoid doing so. But if milder measures prove insufficient, punishment that will bring the child to its senses should in love be administered. Frequently one such correction will be enough for a lifetime, to show the child that he does not hold the lines of control.CG 250.2

    And when this step becomes necessary, the child should be seriously impressed with the thought that this is not done for the gratification of the parent, or to indulge arbitrary authority, but for the child's own good. He should be taught that every fault uncorrected will bring unhappiness to himself and will displease God. Under such discipline children will find their greatest happiness in submitting their wills to the will of the heavenly Father.21Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 116, 117.CG 250.3

    As the Last Resort—Many times you will find that if you will reason with them kindly, they will not need to be whipped. And such method of dealing will lead them to have confidence in you. They will make you their confidant. They will come to you and say, I did wrong today at such a time, and I want you to forgive me and to ask God to forgive me. I have gone through scenes like this, and therefore I know.... I am thankful that I had courage, when they did wrong, to deal with them firmly, to pray with them, and to keep the standards of God's Word before them. I am glad that I presented to them the promises made to the overcomer, and the rewards offered to those who are faithful.22Manuscript 27, 1911.CG 250.4

    Never Strike a Passionate Blow—Never give your child a passionate blow, unless you want him to learn to fight and quarrel. As parents you stand in the place of God to your children, and you are to be on guard.23Manuscript 32, 1899.CG 251.1

    You may have to punish with the rod; this is sometimes essential, but defer any settlement of the difficulty until you have settled the case with yourselves. Ask yourself, Have I submitted my way and will to God? Have I placed myself where God can manage me, so that I may have wisdom, patience, kindness, and love in dealing with the refractory elements in the home?24Manuscript 79, 1901.CG 251.2

    Caution to a Quick-tempered Father—Bro. L., have you considered what a child is, and whither it is going? Your children are the younger members of the Lord's family—brothers and sisters entrusted to your care by your heavenly Father for you to train and educate for heaven. When you are handling them so roughly as you have frequently done, do you consider that God will call you to account for this dealing? You should not use your children thus roughly. A child is not a horse or a dog to be ordered about according to your imperious will, or to be controlled under all circumstances by a stick or whip, or by blows with the hand. Some children are so vicious in their tempers that the infliction of pain is necessary, but very many cases are made much worse by this manner of discipline....CG 251.3

    Never raise your hand to give them a blow unless you can with a clear conscience bow before God and ask His blessing upon the correction you are about to give. Encourage love in the hearts of your children. Present before them high and correct motives for self-restraint. Do not give them the impression that they must submit to control because it is your arbitrary will, because they are weak, and you are strong, because you are the father, they the children. If you wish to ruin your family, continue to govern by brute force, and you will surely succeed.25Testimonies For The Church 2:259, 260.CG 252.1

    Never Shake an Offending Child—Parents have not given their children the right education. Frequently they manifest the same imperfections which are seen in the children. They eat improperly, and this calls their nervous energies to the stomach, and they have no vitality to expand in other directions. They cannot properly control their children because of their own impatience; neither can they teach them the right way. Perhaps they take hold of them roughly and give them an impatient blow. I have said that to shake a child would shake two evil spirits in, while it would shake one out. If a child is wrong, to shake it only makes it worse. It will not subdue it.26Testimonies For The Church 2:365.CG 252.2

    First Use Reason and Prayer—First reason with your children, clearly point out their wrongs, and impress upon them that they have not only sinned against you, but against God. With your heart full of pity and sorrow for your erring children, pray with them before correcting them. Then they will see that you do not punish them because they have put you to inconvenience, or because you wish to vent your displeasure upon them, but from a sense of duty, for their good; and they will love and respect you.27The Signs of the Times, April 10, 1884.CG 252.3

    That prayer may make such an impression on their minds that they will see that you are not unreasonable. And if the children see that you are not unreasonable, you have gained a great victory. This is the work that is to be carried on in our family circles in these last days.28Manuscript 73, 1909.CG 253.1

    The Effectiveness of Prayer in a Disciplinary Crisis—Do not threaten them with the wrath of God if they do wrong, but bring them in your prayers to Christ.29Manuscript 27, 1893.CG 253.2

    Before you cause your child physical pain, you will, if you are a Christian father or mother, reveal the love you have for your erring one. As you bow before God with your child, you will present before the sympathizing Redeemer His own words, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14. That prayer will bring angels to your side. Your child will not forget these experiences, and the blessing of God will rest upon such instruction, leading him to Christ. When children realize that their parents are trying to help them, they will bend their energies in the right direction.30Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 117, 118.CG 253.3

    Personal Experiences in Discipline—I never allowed my children to think that they could plague me in their childhood. I also brought up in my family others from other families, but I never allowed those children to think that they could plague their mother. Never did I allow myself to say a harsh word or to become impatient or fretful over the children. They never got the better of me once—not once, to provoke me to anger. When my spirit was stirred, or when I felt anything like being provoked, I would say, “Children, we shall let this rest now; we shall not say anything more about it now. Before we retire, we shall talk it over.” Having all this time to reflect, by evening they had cooled off, and I could handle them very nicely....CG 253.4

    There is a right way, and there is a wrong way. I never lifted a hand to my children, before I talked with them; and if they broke down, and if they saw their mistake (and they always did when I brought it before them and prayed with them), and if they were subdued (and they always were when I did this), then I had them under my control. I never found them otherwise. When I prayed with them, they would break all to pieces, and they would throw their arms around my neck and cry....CG 254.1

    I never allowed, in correcting my children, even my voice to be changed in any way. When I saw something wrong, I waited until the “heat” was over, and then I would take them after they had had a chance for reflection and were ashamed. They would get ashamed, if I gave them an hour or two to think of these things. I always went away and prayed. I would not speak to them then.CG 254.2

    After they had been left to themselves for a while, they would come to me about it. “Well,” I would say, “we will wait until evening.” At that time we would have a season of prayer, and then I would tell them that they hurt their own souls and grieved the Spirit of God by their wrong course of action.31Manuscript 82, 1901.CG 254.3

    Take Time for Prayer—When I have felt roiled and was tempted to speak words that I would be ashamed of, I would keep silent and pass right out of the room and ask God to give me patience to teach these children. Then I could go back and talk with them, and tell them they must not do this wrong again. We can take such a position in this matter that we shall not provoke the children to wrath. We should speak kindly and patiently, remembering all the time how wayward we are and how we want to be treated by our heavenly Father.CG 254.4

    Now these are the lessons that parents must learn, and when you have learned these, you will be the very best students in the school of Christ, and your children will be the very best children. In this way you can teach them to have respect for God and to keep His law, because you will have excellent government over them, and in doing this you are bringing up into society children who will be a blessing to all around them. You are fitting them to be laborers together with God.32Manuscript 19, 1887.CG 255.1

    Joy May Follow the Pain of Discipline—The true way of dealing with trial is not by seeking to escape it, but by transforming it. This applies to all discipline, the earlier as well as the later. The neglect of the child's earliest training, and the consequent strengthening of wrong tendencies, makes his after education more difficult and causes discipline to be too often a painful process. Painful it must be to the lower nature, crossing, as it does, the natural desires and inclinations; but the pain may be lost sight of in a higher joy.CG 255.2

    Let the child and the youth be taught that every mistake, every fault, every difficulty, conquered, becomes a steppingstone to better and higher things. It is through such experiences that all who have ever made life worth the living have achieved success.33Education, 295, 296.CG 255.3

    Follow the Divine Guidebook—Parents who would properly rear their children need wisdom from heaven in order to act judiciously in all matters pertaining to home discipline.34Pacific Health Journal, January, 1890.CG 256.1

    The Bible is a guide in the management of children. Here, if parents desire, they may find a course marked out for the education and training of their children, that they may make no blunders.... When this Guidebook is followed, parents, instead of giving unlimited indulgence to their children, will use more often the chastening rod; instead of being blind to their faults, their perverse tempers, and alive only to their virtues, they will have clear discernment and will look upon these things in the light of the Bible. They will know that they must command their children in the right way.35Manuscript 57, 1897.CG 256.2

    God cannot take rebels into His kingdom; therefore He makes obedience to His commands a special requirement. Parents should diligently teach their children what saith the Lord. Then God will show to angels and to men that He will build a safeguard round about His people.36Manuscript 64, 1899.CG 256.3

    Your Part and God's Part—Parents, when you have faithfully done your duty, to the extent of your ability, you may then in faith ask the Lord to do that for your children which you cannot do.37The Signs of the Times, February 9, 1882.CG 256.4

    After you have done your duty faithfully to your children, then carry them to God and ask Him to help you. Tell Him that you have done your part, and then in faith ask God to do His part, that which you cannot do. Ask Him to temper their dispositions, to make them mild and gentle by His Holy Spirit. He will hear you pray. He will love to answer your prayers. Through His Word He has enjoined it upon you to correct your children, to “spare not for their crying,” and His Word is to be heeded in these things.38The Review and Herald, September 19, 1854.CG 256.5

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