Discipline is the other side of teaching. A child with a teachable spirit will still need thorough explanation, much patience, and opportunity to try and experiment, including the right to fail and to learn by failure. A child, however, who is caught up in willful disobedience (Prov. 29:15), rebellion (1 Sam. 15:23), or stubborn foolishness (Prov. 22:15), closes off effective teaching and disrupts the harmony of the family. God’s answer to this is firm and loving discipline.
The Bible makes a clear distinction between discipline and physical abuse. We are never to inflict harm on a child (Prov. 23:13). But, there are times, all thoughout our lives, that consequences are uncomfortable, or even painful.
God describes Himself as a disciplinarian. However, He always disciplines us out of love and for our own benefit (Heb. 12:5–11). Likewise, God requires that parents properly correct their children. Discipline drives foolishness from a child’s heart (Prov. 29:15), gives wisdom (Prov. 29:15), and produces righteousness in the child’s life (Heb. 12:11). A child’s eternal destiny hinges upon godly discipline (Prov. 23:14).