I was reminded during this morning's wonderful sermon at church how each and every one of us is born to iniquity. (The sermon was not about child training, but it got me thinking...) We inherited a sin nature from Adam. We have no control over our sinful nature, but for God's amazing grace. We were born to sin and so are our children. So, why are we as parents so surprised when our children sin? Why do we act shocked and hurt when they disobey or act wrongly? Of course they sin! It's what we do! Do we expect to deal with an issue, then never have to deal with that child's sin again?
If parents expect perfect, sinless behavior from children, they will become disappointed, angry and frustrated when they have to discipline them for failure. However, if we anticipate that our children will mess up, we can turn each case into an opportunity to train, to correct, to teach (rather than to punish). The goal is not perfect children--that will never happen; the goal is to teach our children about God's grace and how to govern and correct their own behavior next time they are tempted to sin.
Next time your child sins, take a moment to thank God for the opportunity to direct that child toward Him. A graceless parent cannot very well portray to a child a gracious God. And aren't we all so grateful for His grace and unending patience toward us?