The other day (was it yesterday?) my eldest had a knock-down-drag-out fit complete with screaming, kicking the wall, and throwing things. It was over something really little, but she was quite upset. It has got me to thinking about tantrums.
Tantrums show the sin nature at its worst. The child is having a fit because he or she wants something he or she cannot have. The child is expressing displeasure because she did not get her way. The child is not submitting to authority. Yet, at the same time, the child is still only a child. Self control certainly has not been mastered, and some of these things will come with time.
I have been reading Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp for Bible study at church. While I realize that this is not scripture, a lot of people that I respect really like his advice. He speaks against "isolation" (ie sending a child to their room) as a disciplinary tactic.
However, in the midst of a fit, this is the only thing that works! I send her to her room, let her have her issue, then deal with it when she is calmer.
However, I have not yet figured out what to doabout the tantrum. Do I ignore it (popular psychology's take), discipline her (Tripp's take) or just talk to her (what I usually do)? Yesterday after she was in her room for a while she was repentent and appologetic. Isn't that the goal of discipline - to bring the child back into a proper relationship with the authority (parents/God)? So if she says she is sorry and asks forgiveness, is it done? Or does she still need discipline?
These are questions that are hard to answer. While the Bible is clear on many things about discipline, it does not openly say how to deal with a fit. I opted to talk about the behavior and accept her oppology this time. But I am second guessing myself. Any motherly wisdom out there?
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