“I tell you Prophet Malcolm, he is getting worse and worse. It seems the firmer I get with him the more defiant he becomes. But in a way I blame myself,” Bishop Akron lamented to his mentor over the phone.
“Why is that?” Prophet Malcolm asked.
“I should have put my foot down more often with him as I should have done with Ebony when they were little children. I let their mother spoil them. She is always taking up for them. When they were smaller and I would tell them no, they could not have any ice cream on a certain night since they had had cookies or something else sweet earlier in the day or no they could not go some place, she would oftentimes go behind my back and let them do the opposite of what I said, giving me this excuse that they were children and that they needed to enjoy their childhood,” Bishop Akron said. “I told her I enjoyed my childhood with all the restrictions my parents put on me.”
“See, that’s where a lot of parents mess up,” Prophet Malcolm said. “They believe if they place too many restrictions on their children, their children will miss out on their childhood, and young adulthood for that matter, and will be insecure and unhappy and hate them. Little do they know that the opposite is what will take place. Children want boundaries. Boundaries make them feel secure and cared for. Even adults want boundaries. That’s why our jobs have policies and rules. Can you imagine going on your job wondering what you are supposed to do and what you’re not supposed to do?”
“True, but I never stuck it out. I felt my wife would at least do good by them. As busy as I was with the church, I felt she would step in and be firm with them when it really mattered. I blame myself for letting my son get away with what we call ‘little’ sins,” Bishop Akron said.
“Well, another mistake parents make is not chastising their children from an early age. I’m talking from when they are about twelve months old. A firm ‘NO’ will startle that crying, forcing that baby into silence. A firm swat on the bottom will usually startle that squirming child into a stillness,” Prophet Malcolm said. “Don’t wait until they are ten, eleven, twelve years old and definitely not until they become a teenager; their will is largely set by then.”
“That’s wisdom right there,” Bishop Akron said after thinking about it. “Did you have trouble with your children when they were teenagers?”
“To tell you the truth, I hardly had any because I followed the advice of this pastor over in Germany. He had thirteen children at the time I went to visit him. He had invited me to preach at his church for a week and I stayed in their guest room that entire week. I hardly ever heard the children while I was there and his wife home schooled all thirteen children. The youngest was like six months old and I hardly ever heard her crying or whimpering. I was very impressed. I asked him what his magic potion was that he gave them every day. This is what he told me and I share it with parents as much as I can.”
“Well, you’d better share it with me because I need all the help I can get although it may be too late for me considering my children’s ages,” Bishop Akron said.
“Never say it’s too late,” Prophet Malcolm said. “He said you must begin to train them to obey your voice first by being firm and letting them know you mean what you say. This begins when they are a few months old and they are kicking and bucking for no reason. He said you hold them still and firmly say ‘No’ while looking them in the eyes. You do that one time. If they persist, give them a firm swat on the bottom. You do that a few times they should learn to obey your voice. He then said to use a twelve inch wooden ruler when they get to that age when they begin to crawl and about five or so hard taps on their bottom with the ruler after you have told them ‘No’ should get them to understand you mean what you say.”
“When they begin to reach out and touch things like the electric socket or some valuable little trinkets and things like that use your voice to issue a firm ‘No’,” Prophet Malcolm said. “Always use your voice first. If that does not stop them after a second and third chance, then you use your rod of correction—a reasonable rod that fits their age. Here is where a parent uses discretion. As a parent you have to chastise them out of love and not out of anger. My advice to parents is if you feel yourself getting angry then do not chastise them. You wait until your anger blows over and you can lovingly say, ‘Little Johnny, this is what you did wrong earlier. Do you remember that?’ You have them to tell you what they did wrong so they won’t think you are spanking them for nothing. Then let them know they cannot get away with evil as God is not pleased with what they did, and you are not pleased with what they did either. You then chastise them.”
“I see,” Bishop Akron said.
“Also, this pastor told me never to use my hand as a rod. Use your hand to hug and to do good things as you don’t want them to associate your hand as an instrument of correction,” Prophet Malcolm said. “Let them fear the rod and not your hand.”
“I tell you what, that is sound and wise advice. I wish someone had told me this when my two were babies. I’m sure they would not be causing me so much trouble now,” Bishop Akron said.
“Now, some parents give up after a few years if their child persists in his or her rebellion, but they have to realize they are in it for the long haul. They have to let their children know they, the parents, are in charge as long as they are living in their house,” Prophet Malcolm said. “If we would only take heed to the advice given to us by Solomon then we would have less problems out of our children including our teenagers.”
“I’m seeing it all come out in my children, especially Cornel. Rebellion. Stubbornness. A bad attitude. Mumbling and grumbling. A sad and sullen countenance—all sins I never confronted head on in my children, and now it seems too late,” Bishop Akron said. “Thank goodness, Ebony is coming around. By the way, thank your wife on my behalf for spending time with her. She is more pleasant and is smiling more now. She told me she was actually looking forward to having the baby.”
“That’s great. I will definitely tell her,” Prophet Malcolm said. “Don’t worry about Cornel. We’ll just pray harder for him. Boys can be a hard case, but you just have to stay on them and never let up—not even an inch.”
“Yes. That’s all I am doing now and trying to put my foot down. I’ve had to tell my wife to leave him alone as they are getting into it more and more. He’s not listening to her either. One would think he would since she babied him and spoiled him rotten by giving him just about everything he whined for when he was younger,” Bishop Akron said.