Rewards, Discipline and Empty Threats Working Toward Negotiation

Fatherhood is a challenging job. Or at least I find it challenging as my four year old
learns what buttons to push and negotiates to get his way.

He’s a good kid. Don’t get me wrong, but I find that I have to be firm with him at times. I become so stern he seems afraid of me, as he puts his fingers in him mouth. And he’s never been a thumb sucker.

Is this what it means when Christians mention putting the fear of God in your child?

I believe they are probably referring to teaching the word of God. I believe in a loving God, who unconditionally cares for us, so why should I be afraid of him? I am more afraid of being without Him than of Him.

I’d be afraid to come to he end of life and have that be it. No heavenly ascent. No peace and contentment. I’d be afraid to put my faith in humanity. Humans have done a lot of great and remarkable things, but we’ve also done some pretty awful and horrific things, too.

As a father, I work to motivate my kids through reward, acknowledgment and disapproval. The disapproval is the piece that I feel is a living example of the fear of God. I don’t want God to be disproved of me. He forgives for my faults, but he’s also disappointed if I don’t try to work in them.

So rather than scaring my kid to the point of sucking his thumb, I hope to move into an area of communicating disappointment.

My goal is to share when I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of him constantly, and when he acts in ways that make me angry, I will share disappointment.

Many times when I’m fed up, my response is to walk away. There were many times in my childhood when my dad would scare me with his anger. And rather than share my anger, spread it down the line if you will, my goal is to walk away.

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