Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.
— Proverbs 29:17, NKJV
The first lesson that children are to be taught is the lesson of obedience. When they have learned to obey their parents, it will not be hard for them to obey God. Obedience becomes a part of their nature.
But before parents can teach their children obedience, they must learn the lesson themselves by obedience to God. How can they discipline their children aright till they learn the meaning and the value of self-discipline?
A parent gives way to temper before the child, and then wonders why the child is so difficult to control. But what could he expect? Children are quick to imitate; and the child is but putting into practice the lessons taught him by his parents in their outbursts of anger.
Require obedience, never with a storm of angry words, but firmly and kindly. And when called upon to discipline your child, remember your own relation to your Heavenly Father. Have you walked perfectly before him?... But does he deal with you in anger? Remember, too, that it is from you that your children have received their tendencies to wrong. Remember how often you act like grown-up children. In spite of your years of Christian experience, in spite of your many opportunities for self-discipline, how easily you are provoked to anger. Deal gently, then, with your children, remembering that they have not had the opportunities you have had to gain self-control.
You may have to punish your child... Defer the punishment till you have talked with yourself and with God. Ask yourself, Have I submitted my will to God’s will? Am I standing where he can control me? Ask God to forgive you for transmitting to your child a disposition so difficult to manage. Ask him to give you wisdom, that you may deal with your wayward child in a way that will draw him nearer to you and to his Heavenly Father.
Let every mother go often to God with the prayer, “How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?” Let her heed the instruction that God has given in his Word, and wisdom will be given her as she shall have need.
Parents are not left to carry forward alone the work on which so much depends. Christ says, Come unto me. I will bear your burdens and your perplexities. All power in heaven and in earth has been given to me. I will give you strength. Go to him, fathers and mothers.
— The Review and Herald, July 8, 1902
First learn the lesson of obedience to God and the value of self-discipline for yourself, then you may teach your children obedience.
Defer punishment till you have talked with yourself and with God. Ask yourself, “Have I submitted my will to God’s will?”
Ask God to give you wisdom that you may deal with your wayward children in a way that will draw them nearer to you and to their Heavenly Father.
Go to God often with the prayer, “How shall we order the children and train them?” Heed the instruction God has given in His Word.