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Blaming, Rationalizing, and Justifying
When Corrected

Correction photoSome children won’t take responsibility for their offenses. They rationalize, blame, justify, defend, and otherwise deflect correction. Parents often feel frustrated because they know that a child who won’t accept correction will continue doing the wrong thing. In many cases, parents recognize the negative path and are disheartened by the direction it’s heading.

You, as a parent, can have a tremendous influence on a child’s approach to correction. The reality is that there are four different kinds of faults that parents correct for. They’re not all sin, but they still require correction and redirection. 1) Deliberate sin - children choose to do the wrong thing. 2) Unrecognized sin - the child is doing the wrong thing but doesn’t understand or realize that it’s wrong. 3) Mistakes - the child is acting foolishly. Although the action isn’t wrong, it will have negative consequences and the child can’t see it. A lot of childhood immaturity falls into this category. It’s not sinful, but it’s unwise and so the parent corrects the child. (Talking too much, or being annoying are examples.) 4) Offenses - the child may not do anything wrong, but someone else is hurt and the offense needs to be addressed nonetheless.

One of the jobs of parenting is to correct children. How they are corrected often determines the outcome. The goal of correction is a changed heart. Many parents miss the heart and use simple behavior modification techniques to get kids to merely change on the outside. There’s a better way. We offer several tools for helping children change on a heart level.

The first thing is that you must have a positive view of correction. Proverbs 6:23 says, “the corrections of discipline are the way to life.” That means that correction is a good thing because it’s one of the ways that we learn. You can learn by reading a book, watching a video or having a coach train you. You can also learn from correction. It’s one of the tools God uses in our lives to help us grow. That means that correction is a positive thing.

Many parents view correction as an interruption in their lives, express their frustration to the child, and pass on a negative view of correction. Rather, you must allow time in your life for correction. It’s part of your job. Many parents plan their days so full, that it’s no wonder they get angry when they have to stop and discipline a child; there just isn’t time. We suggest that you plan margin into your days so you have the flexibility necessary when it’s time to correct. After all, the discipline time may be the most important thing that you do all day. It’s often in the discipline, that heart moments take place. You want to have time.

Another tool is to use a Break. Children must learn to pull back instead of push forward when they’ve made a mistake. Just like a huddle in a football game, a Break gives children an ability to step back and rethink life. A Break is different than Time Out. Time Out is a sentence for a crime committed and you as the parent must act as the policeman to keep the child there. A Break is significantly different. Although it requires that a child sit down for a bit, that’s where the similarities to Time Out end.

In a Break, the child is sent on a mission to change the heart. Furthermore, the child helps determine the length of time spent in the Break. This focus on heart change requires that the child do some heart work before returning. Repentance is beginning to take place. Most children are unable to process all of the parts of repentance in the Break and need the help of a parent. But the Break helps the child settle down and be ready to work on the problem. You can read more about how to develop the Break as a tool in your family in the Training Manual and CD entitled, Correction Ideas that Touch the Heart. That workbook and CD can be purchased separately or as part of the 8-lesson kit entitled, Heart Work Training Manuals and CDs. The Treasure Hunters Children’s Curriculum, session #3 also helps you teach the value of the Break to children using Bible stories, crafts, and other activities.

Another tool to help children take responsibility for their actions can be used when children return from the Break. We call it a Positive Conclusion. It’s a debriefing you have with your child after the offense that contains three questions and a statement. You’ll want to use this Positive Conclusion every time you correct or redirect your child. The first question is always the same, “What did you do wrong?” This question isn’t asked in an angry or accusing way. It’s just part of process. Confession is one element of repentance and children need to become accustomed to doing it. You might want to learn more about the Positive Conclusion in the Training Manual and CD entitled, Ending Discipline Times with Impact. That workbook and CD can be purchased separately or as part of the 8-lesson kit entitled, Heart Work Training Manuals and CDs. The Treasure Hunters Children’s Curriculum, session #5 also helps you teach the value of taking responsibility for an offense using Bible stories, crafts, and other activities.

Sometimes children need more motivation to change. That’s when we recommend the use of consequences. We have a Training Manual and CD entitled A Toolbox of Consequences. That workbook and CD can be purchased separately or as part of the 8-lesson kit entitled, Heart Work Training Manuals and CDs. The Treasure Hunters Children’s Curriculum, session #4 also helps you teach the value of correction to children using Bible stories, crafts, and other activities.

Correction is an essential part of parenting. We have a lot of ideas and suggestions to support you in this work. Visit our web site regularly for more ideas to help you parent your children.

Need some help finding the right solution for your family?
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Call us at (609) 771-8002
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PHW Training Manuals and CDs Parenting is Heart Work Training Manuals and Audio CDs
Parenting is Heart Work Training Manual #3 Manual #3
Correction Ideas that Touch the Heart
Treasure Hunters Treasure Hunters
Parenting is Heart Work Training Manual #5 Manual #5
Ending Discipline Times with Impact
Hero Training Camp Hero Training Camp

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