Child Guidance


Chapter 47—Lax Discipline and Its Fruitage

Faulty Training Affects Entire Religious Life—A woe rests upon parents who have not trained their children to be God-fearing, but have allowed them to grow to manhood and womanhood undisciplined and uncontrolled. During their own childhood they were allowed to manifest passion and willfulness and to act from impulse, and they bring this same spirit into their own homes. They are defective in temper, and passionate in government. Even in their acceptance of Christ they have not overcome the passions that were allowed to rule in their childish hearts. They carry the results of their early training through their entire religious life. It is a most difficult thing to remove the impress thus made upon the plant of the Lord; for as the twig is bent, the tree is inclined. If such parents accept the truth, they have a hard battle to fight. They may be transformed in character, but the whole of their religious experience is affected by the lax discipline exercised over them in their early lives. And their children have to suffer because of their defective training; for they stamp their faults upon them to the third and fourth generation.1 CG 275.1

The Eli's of Today—When parents sanction and thus perpetuate the wrongs in their children as did Eli, God will surely bring them to the place where they will see that they have not only ruined their own influence, but also the influence of the youth whom they should have restrained.... They will have bitter lessons to learn.2 CG 275.2

Oh, that the Eli's of today, who are everywhere to be found pleading excuses for the waywardness of their children, would promptly assert their own God-given authority to restrain and correct them. Let parents and guardians, who overlook and excuse sin in those under their care, remember that they thus become accessory to these wrongs. If, instead of unlimited indulgence, the chastening rod were oftener used, not in passion, but with love and prayer, we would see happier families and a better state of society.3 CG 276.1

The neglect of Eli is brought plainly before every father and mother in the land. As the result of his unsanctified affection or his unwillingness to do a disagreeable duty, he reaped a harvest of iniquity in his perverse sons. Both the parent who permitted the wickedness and the children who practiced it were guilty before God, and He would accept no sacrifice or offering for their transgression.4 CG 276.2

Society Cursed by Defective Characters—Oh! when will parents be wise? When will they see and realize the character of their work in neglecting to require obedience and respect according to the instructions of God's Word? The results of this lax training are seen in the children as they go out into the world and take their place at the head of families of their own. They perpetuate the mistakes of their parents. Their defective traits have full scope; and they transmit to others the wrong tastes, habits, and tempers that were permitted to develop in their own characters. Thus they became a curse instead of a blessing to society.5 CG 276.3

The wickedness which exists in the world today may be traced to the neglect of parents to discipline themselves and their children. Thousands upon thousands of Satan's victims are what they are because of the injudicious way in which they were managed during their childhood. The stern rebuke of God is upon this mismanagement.6 CG 276.4

Slackening the Reins of Discipline—Children who are misruled, who are not educated to obey and respect, link themselves with the world and take their parents in hand, putting a bridle on them, and leading them where they choose. Too often, at the very time when the children should show unquestioning respect and obedience to the counsel of their parents, the parents slacken the reins of discipline. Parents who have hitherto been bright examples of consistent piety are now led by their children. Their firmness is gone. Fathers who have borne the cross of Christ, and kept the marks of the Lord Jesus on them in singleness of purpose, are led by their children in questionable and uncertain paths.7 CG 277.1

Indulging the Older Children—Fathers and mothers who should understand the responsibility which rests upon them relax their discipline to meet the inclinations of their growing sons and daughters. The will of the child is the law recognized. Mothers who have been firm, consistent, and unbending in their adherence to principle, maintaining simplicity and fidelity, become indulgent as their children merge into manhood and womanhood. In their love of display they give their children to Satan with their own hands, like the apostate Jews making them pass through the fire to Molech.8 CG 277.2

Dishonoring God to Gain Child's Favor—Fathers and mothers are giving way to the inclination of godless children, and assisting them with money and facilities to make an appearance in the world. CG 277.3

Oh, what an account such parents will have to render to God! They dishonor God and show all honor to their wayward children, opening their doors to amusements which they have in the past condemned from principle. They have allowed card playing, dancing parties, and balls to win their children to the world. At the time when their influence over their children should be strongest, bearing a testimony of what true Christianity means, like Eli they bring themselves under the curse of God by dishonoring Him and disregarding His requirements, in order to gain the favor of their children. But a fashionable piety will not be of much value in the hour of death. Although some ministers of the gospel may approve this kind of religion, parents will find that they are leaving the crown of glory to obtain laurels that are of no value. God help fathers and mothers to arouse to their duty!9 CG 278.1

Be What You Wish Your Children to Be—Be what you wish your children to be. Parents have perpetuated by precept and example their own stamp of character to their posterity. The fitful, coarse, uncourteous tempers and words are impressed upon children, and children's children, and thus the defects in the management of parents testify against them from generation to generation.10 CG 278.2