Restraining Your Child

Have you ever felt like tying your child to a tree, or locking them in their room? Sometimes kids can be very exasperating! Parents can be overwhelmed emotionally and mentally by their inability to control their child.

A screaming child is a great annoyance to the shoppers or people they pass, but spare a thought for the poor parent who cannot walk away from the child and escape the noise. The same is true with a demanding child and a disobedient child.

Have you seen those parents who have their arms full, while their young child simply stops and won’t follow the parent? The mum can’t abandon her child, can’t grab him either, and can’t make him come. How exasperating.

Tied to a Tree

This picture was set up for fun by some friends of mine, and it captures the solution some parents wish they could resort to at times.

child restraint

If their problem child could simply be restrained for a while they could get some rest, or get some things done. Or maybe they could be sure that nothing would be broken and no more trouble would be created.

I am not advocating child abuse, or that you tie your boy to a tree. This is just a gag.

Train Up A Child

The Biblical way to deal with our children is not to simply restrain them, but to “train” them. We are told to “train up a child”. Our responsibility is to prepare them for correct behaviour, not just while they are young, but for the whole of their life.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

If you will not “train” your child you will end up struggling to “restrain” your child. The easier choice is to train properly. In fact – ‘to train is to restrain’.


While modern parents are directed by pop-psychology to concentrate on all the “self” issues of their child – like self-esteem, self-motivation and self-discovery, the Bible tells parents to teach “self-control”.

The key to child training is to bring the child to the place where the child makes the right choices, and controls their own actions, to bring their behaviour into line with what is appropriate. If a child is out of control, the parents have failed. If the child needs the parent to maintain the control, then the parents have failed.

Notice in Proverbs 22:6, quoted above, that the child’s personal will holds them in the right path. The verse tells us that if we train up a child in the way he should go then even when he is old “he will not depart from it”! It is “he”, the child, who will maintain his steps in the right path. This is self-control.

Two Simple Tools

Parents have two simple tools at their disposal to train the heart of their child to do right. Those tools are a rod of correction and words. The Bible refers to these as “the rod and reproof”, and both of these work together to bring wisdom to the child.

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15

The Rod is a means of physical punishment. It is a mechanism for inflicting a small amount of pain to a child to affirm to the child the parent’s commitment to directing the child to correct behaviour. The rod motivates the child, through their desire to avoid pain, to make right choices. When the child makes right choices, as an act of their own will, their will is strengthened in making right choices.

Reproof involves words that are used to rebuke, correct, direct and affirm a child. Parents have great power in their words to impart wisdom, instruct the heart of the child, expose evil and affirm good in the child.

Get Wise Not Mad

If you are often getting mad with your child then you need God’s wisdom. God promises to give wisdom to those who cry out for it. So call out to God for the wisdom you need in your home and with your children.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it will be given him.” James 1:5

Now it is wise to listen to God and to obey His Word. So, another path to wisdom is to read God’s Word, the Bible, and put into practice what God says. The Book of Proverbs has much to say about child training.

You will find much of that wisdom explained in my book, Parenting Horizons, available from the website. You will also find godly wisdom from many other Christian authors, such as the Ezzo’s Growing Kids God’s Way course.

So, don’t get mad, Get Wise!

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