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Specific ProblemsWhat Not to Do

(I'll be adding to this section soon, I hope, so stay tuned. Many of the things I've mentioned here I have already discussed in other places, but some I want to go into more depth on.)

Emotional and psychological manipulation tactics
Sending them to their room  
Starting late

Too much discipline, not enough love
Too much love, not enough discipline
Neglecting needs
Avoiding confrontation  
Allowing them to do as they please as long as they agree to accept the consequences. Distracting when you should be disciplining 
Allowing them to "release their frustrations"   instead of teaching them to control their tempers and resolving their problems 
Being too sympathetic to spank when spanking is needed  
Ignoring temper tantrums and other disobedience  
Treating children with psychotherapy as though they were mentally ill.    
Using 'reality' or 'consequence' discipline too often or inappropriately  
Parental whining, begging, bribing, nagging  
Giving a spanking as a �payment� for each misdeed  
Losing your own self-control (temper)  
Focusing on actions but not attitudes
Spanking only for the big things
Retroactive discipline
Sending them to their room for punishment
Not really watching them
Not correcting soon enough  


I despise manipulation, especially when a parent uses it to exert their authority over their child.

I think of manipulation as a means of getting what one wants by way of deception or with some sort of deceptive intent. At minimum, manipulation involves getting what one wants in a less than direct way, perhaps because of fear of confrontation, or an unwillingness to confront a person directly. 

How do you know what a person's intentions are? Well, life experience teaches you a lot of things. Knowing human nature teaches you a lot more, and knowing the person involved teaches you the most. You really don't have to be a rocket scientist to read a person's intentions in most situations. Even if you can't discern them completely, you can usually detect whether they are honest and up front, or whether they are in some way dishonest or questionable. Simply the attempt to manipulate in the first place, rather than deal in a straightforward manner, indicts deception, and at least some sort of ill intent.

Of course I'm talking about two adults here. When you move to the parent/child scenario that's different. A child often cannot discern the spirit of the manipulator. They were designed by God to trust their parents, not suspect them of dishonesty. This natural relationship, of authority and trust, allows the manipulative parent to victimize the child to a far greater degree than they could another adult. 

When manipulative methods are employed by a parent, especially on older children, it can create much emotional damage. It hurts spirits and hearts and the hurts can linger for a lifetime. It also teaches the child wrong thought patterns. The learn to manipulate just as they have been manipulated. A child can easily become bitter when they learn they are being manipulated and a manipulated child will often learn to manipulate others themselves. Do not use manipulation on your children. God gave you authority over your child, use it with wisdom, kindness, and directness. Don't force excessive or false guilt on your child. Do not teach them to become passive/aggressive in the way they deal with others. Be straightforward and kind, and teach them to be the same.

Proverbs 6:12-15 "Let me describe for you a worthless and a wicked man; first, he is a constant liar; he signals his true intentions to his friends with eyes and feet and fingers. He is always thinking up new schemes to swindle people. He stirs up trouble everywhere. But he will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond hope of healing." (TLB)


�Time-Outs� are what modern child rearing experts tell us to use instead of spanking.  When small children misbehave, the parents are supposed to tell them they will have to have a �time-out� for a little while until they can act better.  For the �time-out,� the child is supposed to sit in a special chair or the like, and not be allowed to continue with their play.  I always wondered how long the �time-out� was supposed to last.  I have also wondered what the parents were supposed to do if their child did not want to willingly go sit in the assigned chair.  I cannot believe that the average child is not bright enough to try resisting a little here.  What was to keep them in the chair should they decide to leave?  It seemed, from what I have picked up, that miraculously, after a short �time-out,� the child was supposed to be well-behaved once again and allowed to play.  I could never quite figure out how or why this transformation would occur, although everyone seems to believe that it does.   

A short time ago, when I was at the doctor�s office, I ran across an article in a popular parenting magazine about �time-outs,� which answered at least a couple of my questions.  First of all, I learned that you are supposed to begin by using a playpen for your �time-outs� so your little one will stay put.  You are supposed to ignore him if he screams, cries, or otherwise protests.  This may sound difficult, but it really is not so bad when you consider that the length of his �time-out� is only to be one minute per year of age!!! 

Now let�s get this straight.  If  little two year old Freddie bites little Suzy, Mommy should calmly pick him up and place him (perhaps kicking and screaming) in his playpen.  (Before she does this, she is to tell him that she really loves him and that she knows that it is hard for him to not bite when he  wants to, but that biting really isn�t very nice and that he should not do it any more.)  Two minutes later, he will be a perfect playmate again and ready to go back to being with Suzy.  Have you ever had a two year old? Do you believe this?

Sending a child to his room:

Question:  After spanking my toddler, I send him to his room for a few minutes. Sometimes he'll quietly sit on his bed until I call for him. Other times he'd angrily throw his pillows and blankets on the floor. Sometimes I am busy with the new baby and can't address that behavior right away. When I call him out to talk with him about why I spanked him, he won't look me in the face. I'll tell him to look at me while I talk to him. He'll look at the floor, at the ceiling, anywhere but at me.  I would welcome your ideas on how to handle this situation.

Answer:  This illustrates why I virtually never send a child to his room. Many children will just use it as an opportunity to continue with their bad attitude or pout or throw their own private tantrum, etc. I am more interested in changing the attitude (character) than the action, so when I discipline I don't consider myself done until they have a good attitude. If I spank, I then keep the child right there with me where I can observe their attitude. If they won't look at me, I will give them another swat until they will look at me. (And getting them to look at you is very important.) This is no different than any other kind of disobedience. Decide what you want to have happen, then insist that it happen. If you are consistent, this won't last long. When they have decided that they were wrong and that they are going to obey you, THEN you can release them with the attitude that you expect them to continue to obey. I usually give them some direction such as, "Now go play with your train in the family room". (Where I can watch them from the kitchen.)

Starting late:

Popular and worldly so-called "experts" would have you believe that babies under the age of two or three, or even older, should not be disciplined at all.  They often insist that these children aren't capable of understanding how to behave.  I recently read that children under the age of ten do not have a fully developed con science, so we cannot expect them not to lie! Don't believe it. These "experts" tell us that it is normal for children to be loud, rowdy, and disobedient. It certainly is normal, by today's standards, but is that what you want for your children?  

Please don't listen to these "experts."   I read their advice and the future I visualize frightens me.  Their approach is very much akin to the psychotherapy methods originally intended as treatment for the mentally ill. I do not desire to have my children BECOME mentally ill by treating them as though they already were.  In my personal experience I have found that the parents I have met, who have earned degrees in the areas of Early Childhood Development, or Education, are often the ones with the most difficult, hard-to-handle children.  (One such child repeatedly tried to place a heavy leather cloth over my newborn baby's face after being told several times that this could smother the baby.  He did this repeatedly when he was sure no one was looking, and he was definitely old enough to know what he was doing.  His "expert" mother later took him to a counselor after he threatened to kill his own baby brother!).  I fear for our country when I realize how widespread the teaching of this worldly child rearing philosophy has become, and how readily it is being accepted by even Christian parents.  It is often mixed in with some good or good-sounding advice.  We must identify it and reject it. Children can and should be trained in obedience and good attitudes at a very early age.  �Stop listening to teaching that contradicts what you know is right.� Proverbs 19:27

(c) Copyright 2007 L. Elizabeth Krueger.  All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.