Your children need true love and understanding. The only way to give them that love and understanding is to give them God's Word. First, you as a parent must become established in the Word; then you must discipline your children according to what the Word says.

Here's a scripture that applies to raising children: "A gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life, but willful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit" (Prov. 15:4 AMP).

The way parents talk to their children is vital to their upbringing. Harsh words can eventually cause a child's will to be broken.

Many times those children are scarred for life. Unless they get in the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to work in them, they will never overcome some of those scars and hurts.

God desires that you be gentle with your children, not only in your mannerisms, but with your tongue. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with the actual words spoken to our children, but the tone of our voice is improper and can cause a negative effect.

The Bible never speaks of breaking a child's spirit or will. It speaks of molding it according to the Word. That will is what the child has to work with, because he will use it to choose the way of the Word or the way of the world.

Many children whose wills have been broken end up in mental institutions. Psychiatrists try to rebuild in them what has been destroyed; but without the Word and its healing power, that restoration will never be done.

So, parent, be careful to discipline in love and with a gentle tongue. But, nevertheless, discipline; and remember to explain the situation to your child. He must have an understanding of what he is being disciplined for.

Many times it seems the responsibility of discipline rests more on the mother than the father because she is with the child more. But that's not true.

Communicate with your husband so that you know how he feels about discipline. Then the two of you will be in unity. Because of that agreement, you can enforce the discipline you both have decided upon. You don't need to tell the child, "Wait until your daddy gets home...."

Also, you must never correct your husband while he is disciplining your children. No matter if he's right or wrong, don't do it. That child will see that he can manipulate mom against dad to get what he wants.

I've seen fathers discipline children. But as soon as daddy was gone, mommie had baby in her lap loving him and saying, "That mean old daddy." Instead of teaching that child the way of the Word, she was leading him down the path of destruction.

If you don't agree with the way your husband has disciplined, wait and discuss it calmly later when the child is not in your presence.

Another thing—don't be ashamed to ask your child's forgiveness if you have disciplined him incorrectly. You are the example. By doing that, you are teaching him forgiveness.

Be big enough to say to your child, "I'm sorry. I didn't discipline you correctly. You must forgive me." When you do that, a strong bond is formed.

They understand that you do love them and have a desire to discipline them by the Word. I've done that with my children. It wasn't hard because my heart was right before God, and I wanted everything to be right in my household.

Don't let those things slip by. Don't think, "Oh well, he's just a child; he doesn't know." Children are very sensitive. They do know. So check up on yourself to make sure you are walking in love and disciplining according to the Word.

Source: Woman, Wife, Mother by Pat Harrison
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers