We are born with little power or expertise—we depend on those around us for everything. As we grow, we internalize and identify with how things are done, and we develop coping mechanisms based on our experiences.
The power a child needs as he grows into adulthood comes from his early identification with authority. Were his parents gentle, warm, and loving but firm? If so, the child will learn that personal power is a good thing. But experiencing passive, harsh, or inconsistent power over his life will give a child a mixed-up notion of what power really is.
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4 (NLT)
Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end. Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits. Colossians 3:20-21 (MSG)
Parents and children both have a role to play, but there are common rules: Respect, obedience, love, knowledge of the other, God as the ultimate authority.
Godly discipline is meant to give a child control. Abuse takes it away. Abuse changes and blurs boundary lines at a whim, depending on the mood of the parent. This inconsistency leaves the child always guessing.