In the last video I briefly touched on discipline as part of our fatherly duties. This is a difficult and delicate area, with many hazards, especially the danger of exasperating our children (Eph 6:4). If you want to provoke your children to anger – and I hope you don’t – here’s how to do it:

  1. Excessive discipline: Too often or too hard.
  2. Disproportionate discipline: Way out of scale to the offense.
  3. Inconsistent discipline: Child punished for one offense one day but not on most other days.
  4. Prejudiced discipline: Unfairly favoring one child over another.
  5. Unexplained discipline: No explanation of why the child’s attitude, words, or actions were wrong, and therefore no understanding gained.
  6. Unforgiving discipline: Despite the child saying sorry, the father keeps the child under a cloud for days/weeks after the discipline.
  7. Imbalanced discipline: Discipline is never balanced with encouragement or praise for anything done right.
  8. Humiliating discipline: Aims to belittle and shame.
  9. Public discipline: No attempt to hide the child’s offenses and punishment from others.
  10. Bad-tempered discipline: Terrifyingly out of control.
  11. Prayerless discipline: No prayer before, during, or after the discipline.
  12. Heartless discipline: No attempt to get behind the actions or words and show the child the need for heart-change.
  13. Selfish discipline: Parent takes out frustrations on a child to make themselves feel better.
  14. Gospel-lessdiscipline: No hope of divine or parental forgiveness. Christ’s atoning sacrifice is ignored.

When we fathers look at such a list, we can only say with grief, “Tick, tick, tick…” “Done that, done that, done that… done them all!” That’s why we must repent of our sinful discipline and cast ourselves afresh on our Heavenly Father’s mercy.

But we mustn’t only confess to God and seek His forgiveness; we have to do the same to our children too if we’ve exasperated them in these ways. If we’ve never said, “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” to our children, there’s something wrong with us.

Then, having confessed wrong to God and our children, start practicing more godly discipline, which should be:

  1. Necessary: You can’t and mustn’t discipline everything – God doesn’t do that to you.
  2. Proportionate: Appropriate for the offense
  3. Consistent: The boundaries are known and don’t move depending on our moods
  4. Fair: Not favoring one child over another
  5. Explained: Teaching why their conduct or words were wrong in the light of God’s Word
  6. Forgiving: As soon as there is repentance, there is forgiveness.
  7. Balanced: It should be in the context of regularly daily encouragement and praise
  8. Respectful: Not out to dehumanize them.
  9. Private: Make every effort to shield from others.
  10. Controlled: If you’re out of control, you’re out of order. Try to be as calm as possible.
  11. Prayerful: Pray for the Lord’s help and blessing, especially for help to be like the Lord in disciplining.
  12. Spiritual: Try to get to the heart issues behind the behavior or words.
  13. Child-centered: This is not about satisfying our conscience or venting our frustration but the good of the child.
  14. Gospel-centered:Remind your kid of their need of the Gospel and God’s provision for the repentant.

This way, we will provoke our children to love God and ourselves.

Real men discipline in a god-like way.


  1. What are your weaknesses when it comes to disciplining your children?
  2. What steps can you take to address that weakness?
  3. How can you combine discipling with disciplining?

Further Reading

5 Principles for Disciplining your Children

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Parent

Why we Don’t Punish our Kids