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

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Child Training

Child training is about more than just spanking.  It is about training for correct behavior.  Pr 29:17 states, "Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."  While the rod is and should be used to correct discipline problems it may also be used to teach correct behavior.

Infants cry because they are either hungry, tired, soiled or need to be burped.  After a while they will begin to cry because they want to be held or don't want to be set down on the floor.  A young mother can either wear her self out carrying this spoiled infant all the time or she can train him not to fuss.  To start with, softly but firmly say, "No, don't cry", or "No, don't fuss.  When he continues, a thump of the finger on his thigh and again softly but firmly saying "No" is usually enough to make him stop and consider what has just happened.  If he cries again he receives another thump and a "No".  Each time he cries he always receives the same response.  He is not old enough to reason what is happening but he is able to realize that his crying has become a source of pain and if he stops the pain stops. He also learns to respond to your voice and realize that "No" means stop.

Another example is when he is old enough to begin reaching for your food at the dinner table.  You can either contort yourself and hold him far enough away that he can't reach or train him not to do it.  When he grabs the plate of food softly but firmly say, "No" and remove his hand.  The next time he grabs the plate of food give him a thump on the back of the hand when he reaches for the plate and again say "No".  It's amusing to watch him draw his hand back and think for a moment and then inevitably he reaches for the plate again and immediately receives another thump and a "No".  Drawing back his hand once more he may grow more wary and try to sneak up on the plate but as soon as he does another thump and a "No", teaches him he cannot get away with it.  If this is done consistently from the very beginning within only a few lessons he has learned a new boundary and no longer reaches for the plate.

However, as a child grows older the thump quickly looses it's effect.  You will soon find that it is time to move on to the rod.  This is for his training.  Also, you may find that a child who is already used to being picked up every time he cries or is accustomed to grabbing your dinner plate probably won't respond to the finger thump.  By this time they are too old and too set in their ways to respond to it. 

Training with the rod is the same as with the finger thump only now we move to his posterior.  God made his buttocks so that it will absorb the pain of the rod without leaving marks.  If he is wearing a thick diaper it may be necessary to use it on the inside or rear of his thighs.  All we are doing is inflicting enough of a sting to gain his attention. 

When he is set down and begins to cry, softly but firmly say, " No, stop crying," or "No, stop fussing."  When he continues, one lick with the switch and a "No, stop crying" begins this new phase of his training.  At this point if he continues to cry, each time give him a lick of the switch and a "No, stop crying or stop fussing" and you will teach him he cannot get away with it.  It is important that you are absolutely consistent and don't give up.  Because if you give in and pick him up, you have just trained him that if he fusses long enough you will cave in and give him what he wants. 

This same scenario may be repeated any number of ways.  When you lay him down to sleep or tell him not to touch.  If he refuses to lay down, lay him back down and say, "Lay down" if he refuses a lick with the switch and softly but firmly saying "Lay down" will train him he must obey.  Likewise when he reaches for things he must not touch.  If he insists on grabbing it you can either "Child Proof Your House" or "House Proof Your Child".  I recommend the latter because everywhere you go there will be things we wants to get into and he must learn there are some things he must not touch.  When he reaches for the forbidden item say, "No, don't touch".  When he reaches again say "No, don't touch" and give him a lick with the switch.  If you are absolutely consistent, within a short period of time he will be trained to the sound of your voice you will only to say "No, don't touch" and he will leave it alone.  As with any child and any scenario, they will all need periodic reinforcement with the switch to remind them to obey but you will have succeeded in training them to mind your commands and as the scripture says, "he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."

Be warned, however, the longer you spoil a child by giving him his every wish the longer it will take to break him of the bad habits that you have allowed him to develop.  But his habits can be broken.  You have to be more determined to break his habits than he is determined to keep them.  Considering how determined a child can be you understand the magnitude of the determination a parent must have to correct a child's behavior and train him in the way he should go.

Elder James Taylor





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