Godly discipline should not be viewed as a competition for power. Help your son understand the roles God has assigned each of you in the parent-child relationship.
Instill in him the idea that God has given you 18 years, or while he is living in your home, to teach him how to obey God and say no to sinful desires. And let your son know that his role is to learn how to follow the Lord and resist temptation so he is prepared to stand strong when he is a grown man.
What about the times when your son disobeys you and breaks the rules? Don’t be surprised. Everyone sins, and needs to know what to do when that happens.
When your son does wrong, view his offense as an opportunity to teach him how to make things right in his relationship with the Lord and with you, or whomever he has sinned against.
Work to build a relationship of trust with your son. Empathize with him as he battles with temptation. Telling your son you identify with his struggle, because you wrestle with sin as well, will help him believe you really do understand his trials. When you make yourself vulnerable in this way, he will come to seek your counsel.
If you try to seem as though you are never tempted, your pretense could serve to alienate your son from you. He may think you cannot relate to his struggles and therefore couldn’t possibly know how to help him. Or worse, he will see through your hypocrisy and be turned off by Christianity altogether.
By living an honest, transparent life in front of your son, you can teach him to learn how to know victory over temptation and sin. While it is not wise to expose every sinful desire with which you struggle, you can help your son realize how closely you must walk to the Lord to live an obedient life.
Some practical ways to live with sincerity before your son are:
1. When you lose your temper, ask your son to forgive you. You could say something like, the Bible says, Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another. Even as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32). Please forgive me for speaking harshly to you. I have asked God to forgive me for disobeying His Word, and to help me respond to you with kindness.”
2. If you have gossiped in your son’s presence, tell him the Lord has convicted you about your sin. Say you have asked for God to forgive you and help you to keep your tongue from evil (1 Peter 3:10). Ask your son to forgive you as well.
3. When your son has wronged you, forgive him. Explain how God gives you the ability to forgive and not hold a grudge.
Did you notice how many times the word forgive was used in the above list? Forgiveness should be a characteristic of God’s people.
By asking for your son’s forgiveness and readily extending forgiveness to him, you will build his respect for you and establish an environment which allows your son to better understand what God is like. You will make God attractive, and compel your son to desire Christ in his life.*
Through your transparency, rather than a power struggle, you can discipline your son with empathy. When you help him understand that everyone sins–even you–and everyone needs forgiveness you are showing your son compassion, and can offer him loving discipline, seasoned with grace.
To learn more about Rhonda Stoppe please visit No Regrets Woman
*Excerpt Moms Raising Sons to Be Men