Child Training: “Just Do It.”

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When you hear the mantra “Just do it!” parenting doesn’t usually come to mind—at least to me. But lately I’ve been convicted of how many areas of training boil down to a simple matter of obedience to God’s Word on my part.

God said “train up your child in the way he should go.” All my wiggling and excuse-making for not doing so is sin.

“I’m too busy.”

“I’m too tired.”

“This can wait till tomorrow.”

The list of excuses is endless.

Of course, raising godly children is absolutely impossible without Divine grace and mercy, but that is still no excuse to disregard the command to nurture and train and love our children right now.

Walking into the grocery store, you often see parents who seem genuinely and thoroughly disgusted with their own children. They have a good reason. Their child is being a brat.

“If you don’t like your kids, do something about it,” the Pearls wrote in their book “To Train up a Child.”***

I love my children and I like them. There are times though that whining, defiance, and the host of other fleshly manifestations that we “don’t like” to see in our children crop up.

If my 3-year-old is whining it’s much easier just to hand him what he wants than take time to explain that you only get things if you ask nicely. Giving in to whining might make the whining stop right now, but it does nothing to shape his character.

Thankfully, I’m at the easy (though sometimes sleep-deprived) early stage of motherhood where the solution is often as simple as not giving in to whining. But it still boils down to a simple “lovingly do something about it.”


*** I liked much of what the Pearls have to say, though I disagree with them on many points. As with all books, you’ve got to read it in light of Scriptures and use wisdom when applying suggestions. 

Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherWalking Redeemed, Our Simple Country Life, & Proverbs 31

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  1. Autumn says

    Why would one read a book to “weed” out the good parts? Isn’t that kind of like watching a trashy movie just because it has a good storyline? The Pearl’s are dangerous and their tactics for “training” are pure child abuse…. “Training” is for dogs… not our precious children! I am constantly surprised by how many people read and follow them! “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp is a MUCH better and incredibly more scriptural resource!

    • anna says

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment! If we only read books that we 100% agree with, the list of reading material would be fairly short. We ought to read *every* book with wisdom and not just accept what we read without thinking. I rarely agree with everything an author says and usually it’s not a big deal. In this case I have serious objections, which is why I said so in the post and didn’t link to the book.

      Maybe we’re using “train” in different senses. I use it in the sense of “[t]each (a person or animal) a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.” We train our children in all sorts of things: how to get dressed, to ask nicely not whine, to obey right away, how to sit at the table, how to make their bed, etc. “Training” is part of lovingly raising our children.

      As I said in my post, I disagree with LOTS of the Pearls’ methods, but thought they made a good point about parents needing to take responsibility. If my 3-year-old is whining it’s much easier just to hand him what he wants than take time to explain that if you only get things if you ask nicely. Giving in to whining might make the whining stop right now, but it does nothing to shape his character.

  2. says

    I love “To Train Up a Child”. I think they have lots of good points, but I think that some parents could definitely take it to far to the point of abuse if they have a willful child. I think you need to take the parts that work for your family and leave the parts that don’t, much like with any parenting or self-help book.

  3. says

    So true! It’s also sobering to realize that in many ways how prepared my children are for their future (i.e. able to have a job, do well in school, support a family, be a responsible citizen) is my responsibility as well. What they learn now (i.e. self-discipline, responsibility, hard-working) will only be a benefit to them as they grow older and are ready to be adults. As you said, the easy route is to just let things slide, but the future of my children is injured when I do that.

    I’m so grateful for God’s strength and grace through these years of teaching my children. 🙂

  4. says

    I agree, Anna. If you teach/train them when they are young, before they get in a rut of bad habits of whining or wilfulness (or any other thing that is wrong) they’ll be so much happier later on and you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Though I’m not married, I’ve watched families train their children or not train them and have seen what those children are like 10 -12 years later.
    Keep it up, Anna! Wah I nee! 🙂

  5. Crafty Mama says

    Great advice! I know I sometimes find myself thinking, “Ugh, they are being naughty, but I’m too exhausted. I’ll do something about it tomorrow.” Why do we EVER think that way?! If your kid made a mess on the floor, you wouldn’t wait until tomorrow to clean it up! It should be the same with their attitudes and hearts. Even when we’re tired, they need daily tending and “cleaning”. 🙂

    The Pearls do have so much wisdom. It’s such a shame they often offer that wisdom in such a degrading manner. They make it sound like you are a failure who deserves the worst of the worst if you don’t successfully follow their commands. Wisdom is good, but without grace? Useless.


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