Bless and Encourage
It is disheartening to always hear parents focus on the negative their children are doing: "David! Why are you talking so loud ", "Cindy! This room is very nasty", "Sam! You lazy child". Have you ever noticed that parents keep on repeating these words over and over. It seems that over the years they keep on saying the same thing. Do you know why? It is because these children have morphed into the very same words that were being said to them over the years. The only difference from then and now is that the children are older and are very good at being loud, nasty or lazy.
I usually conduct classes at a Children's Vacation Bible Camp during the July/August school vacation. When asking the children questions, for me, there are no wrong answers. Every answer given by a child is followed by "good job". Even though they may not respond with the answer I am looking for, I would continue to probe until I get that perfect answer whilst encouraging them along the way. I would never say "that's wrong" or "wrong answer". If you continue to align such negative connotations to responses children may give you, they would cease to exceed expectations and retreat within themselves believing that they could never do anything right. Every time they are complimented those little faces would light up and you can see their elation. Once they have experience that sense of accomplishment they are eager to achieve more and improve on their answers.
So instead of saying "David! Why are you talking so loud " —you can say, "David, it is nice when you speak softly". Also, instead of saying "Cindy! This room is very nasty"— you can say, "Cindy, I love it when your room is clean". The words and phrases we use shapes the destiny of the intended target. Always seek to lift up and not bring down.
I am not saying not to correct a child when he or she is going in the wrong direction—as Proverbs 23:13 advises "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die". The "rod" can symbolize many different forms of correction; and it does not only refer to a spanking. The "rod of correction" can also refer to the words we use or a particular action we may take. Whichever way we choose to correct, its goal should be to guide a child in his/her development rather than chastise. I remember when I was a child and I was receiving a whopping for misbehaving (which was rare), my mother would also follow that form of correction with a conversation saying, "I did not beat you because I want to hurt you, but I have to let you know that there are consequences to your wrong action." She would continue , "I do not want to see you go the wrong direction because I love you." At that time I got two forms of "rod of correction": a whopping and some stern words. At the end of the day I knew which direction I should go and I would NEVER repeat my actions again. Therefore, whatever "rod of correction" you choose, administer it in love with the aim to direct your child and cultivate a beautiful human being.