In correcting and disciplining our children, it’s important to remember the goal: Reconciliation. Whether our child is being corrected for hitting, being selfish, being rude, etc., make it your goal to reconcile them to the person offended, and ultimately to God. Avoid being simply corrective: “Stop that!” “That was his first, give it back!” “Don’t talk to me like that!” It’s easy to adopt the attitude of, “Stop sinning because it’s irritating me.” There’s no reconciliation in that. Our privilege as parents is to train them to be kind, compassionate, responsible people for their own good. The byproduct is that we parents are also blessed by their good behavior. A child who is never given the opportunity to reconcile their wrongs is likely to feel angry and insecure.
Think of the way God confronts us. He causes us to recognize our sin. We repent, and He forgives us. We can follow this example by pointing out our child’s sin, giving them the opportunity to apologize to the offended, encouraging the victim to verbally forgive them. You don’t even need to make your child apologize most of the time. Showing them your disapproval of their behavior is usually enough to make them feel remorse for their actions. Appeal to their conscience. Appeal to God’s laws and biblical truth. By doing this you are teaching them to respect authority. When they apologize, make sure they say what they’re sorry for. This helps them to own their sin, rather than mumbling out an insincere apology. Whether you’re the victim of their crime, or another child is, follow through with the reconciliation process by insisting on genuine forgiveness. After we declare that the offender is forgiven, we don’t need to remind them of our disappointment, disapproval, or irritation. Pay close attention to your facial expression! If you still have irritation in your eyes, be confident that they will notice! Smile lovingly, and encourage them to have fun as they return to their play.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation… 2 Cor. 5:18