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( A Recognition of Wrongdoing )
© Apr 1996 Alan S.L. Wong


DISCIPLINE is a major concern for parents. The issue is how do we get our children to behave according to the standards we expect. What if they refuse to conform?

There are many methods of discipline. The effectiveness of discipline methods varies from situation to situation and from child to child. But whatever the discipline methods, there are prerequisites for discipline to be effective. I call these "the 3R's prerequisites"

  1. Relationship of Love
  2. Reading of Your Child
  3. Recognition of Wrongdoing

A Recognition of Wrongdoing

When Nathan the prophet confronted him about his adultery with Bathsheba, King David admitted his sins.

David also acknowledged that God is right and blameless in His judgement and accepted the punishment.

If you punish your child without first explaining what he did wrong, then he would think that he had been unjustly punished. "Why did you punish me for something that is not wrong (in the child's perspective)?" There would be resentment. Discipline that is rejected accomplishes nothing! Therefore, another prerequisite for effective discipline is an understanding (and hopefully, acknowledgement) of wrongdoing by the offender.

A wise son accepts his fatherís discipline,
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Proverbs 13:1
You cannot dictate guilt and repentance. Guilt occurs when we violate the standards that we have adopted. True apology and repentance must come from the heart. Therefore, I do not believe in forcing my children to apologise. I will tell them that their behaviour is wrong and let them wrestle with the issue of apology.

Should we discipline a child who acknowledges his wrongdoing and apologises?