Here are a couple of more parenting tips from Susanna Wesley's letter to her grown son John:
That no child should ever be chid or beat twice for the same fault; and that, if they amended, they should never be upbraided with it afterwards.
That every signal act of obedience, especially when it crossed upon their own inclinations, should be always commended and frequently rewarded, according to the merits of the case.
That if ever any child performed an act of obedience, or did anything with an intention to please, though the performance was not well, yet the obedience and intention should be kindly accepted; and the child with sweetness directed how to do better for the future.
Yesterday I had occasion to correct my son for reacting in anger to his siblings and neighbor friends when things didn't go his way as he played outside. After I gave him a stern talking-to about the way he should be acting, he tearfully told me, "But Mom, I can't! I don't know how!"
What an honest answer! We see that our sin is wrong, but we can't figure out how to stop. Praise be to God that I can tell my son, "You're right. You can't. At least not by yourself." How hopeless it would be if we didn't have the promise of Jesus' righteousness.
We had a little talk about calling on Jesus to help him have self-control and ended by praying together. I know exactly how he feels, for I struggle with the same problem, as did Paul.
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Romans 7:15 (ESV)
I love Susanna Wesley's reminders to watch for acts of obedience in our children, especially when it crossed their own inclinations, and be sure to reward and praise that action.
How do you encourage your children when you spot their victory over sinful behavior?
Image of Susanna Wesley from the following website: John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life, http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/wesley/
Click here to read my previous post: Oh, Susanna! which includes some other excerpts from Susanna Wesley's letter to John Wesley.