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It is the duty of the parent to train the child in right-doing. Throughout the child's training, he is to be presented very clearly with choice and consequence. Rules or boundaries should be clear and consistent.

Without them, the child will be uncertain of what you expect and insecure about his actions and your reactions. Training lasts a long time, varying in focus with the child's age.

Your job is to influence your children. To influence means to, "produce an effect upon the actions or thoughts of; to persuade; to choose; to mold; to modify."

Of course, this does not mean it's unnecessary to discipline your children with the rod; that is where "persuading" comes in.

To persuade is to induce or convince to a belief. When children choose not to be influenced and a rebellious act results, then they must be persuaded to make the right choice the next time!

But that is a different subject entirely. We sway a child to make a decision, or to go in a certain direction, persuade him to adopt a view or begin an action and mold his character.

Parents must sway their children to make the correct decisions in life with their influential training process.

You are to set before them the standard of the Word of God, which sways them. Often parents arouse their children emotionally, usually with threats, rather than inspiring them to keep the standard.

What is to be done when a child refuses to comply with a parent's request? His will is not changed by anger or force, but by gentle encouragement to a wiser, more excellent choice.

Does it sound too easy? It is easy when you conduct your household in this manner from the birth of the first child.

If your child refuses to cooperate, simply respond, "It is your choice to obey or disobey. You can do what I have asked or receive the penalty for your disobedience."

This places the power in his hand and gives him a new decision to make. Once again he is free to make a choice.

If he continues in disobedience, he must receive the penalty—a spanking or whatever is appropriate. Now you are both released and can begin anew at the next decision.

In this manner, discipline and penalty are clearly linked to his choice and not to the issue or to the parent enforcing the penalty.

In contrast, if will-breaking is used to force a choice it will result in resentment, bitterness and rebellion.

The thought that parents are to break the will of their child is totally against the character of God. Will-breaking has no part in the training of a child.

A child with a broken will is not equipped to face the challenges of adulthood. Nor does a child with a broken will have the power to sustain the attacks of the world.

When talking about the will, I am referring to decision making or choosing between two possible actions. Training the will is to bring influence upon a child to choose or decide the right action.

But to break the will is forcing action against one's choice, instead of influencing to choose the right direction.       

Source: Aim Your Child Like An Arrow by Vikki Burke.
Excerpt permission granted by Dennis Burke Publications

Author Biography

Vikki Burke
Web site: Dennis Burke Ministries
Vikki and Dennis began as youth pastors in 1973 in Southern California where they received tremendous insight into the work of the local church. In 1976, they moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, to work with Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Vikki worked with KCM for three years before entering full-time ministry with her husband. Since that time, their relationship and involvement with Kenneth Copeland Ministries has continued. Vikki and Dennis have had numerous articles published in the Believer's Voice of Victory magazine.

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