Question: As a parent I hear many words that describe what I am supposed to be doing with my children. I get confused about how to use punishment, consequences, discipline, training, and instruction. At times I think they’re all synonyms referring to the same thing. Other times it get the sense that they are unique. Sometimes it begins to feel like I need a glossary and the ability to pass an elaborate matching quiz to fulfill what God expects of me as a parent. Can you help me think through this kind of dilemma?

Resources: Here are several resources that can be useful in preparing for of following up with the conversation discussed in this VLOG post.

Here are the definitions of the five terms used in this blog post.

  •  Consequences – natural implications of bad decisions of sin or folly
  • Punishment – extra negative consequences applied by a moral authority for the purpose of opening blind eyes or softening a hard heart
  • Discipline – structures of life that are implemented to make wisdom and righteousness easier to see and obtain
  • Training – actions and practices required in order to make wisdom and righteousness a more natural “habit”
  • Instruction – verbal explanations that put into words the principles/values which undergird discipline and training

To review the other questions addressed in this VLOG series click here.

Note: The VLOG (video-blog) Q&A is a regular series on my blog. If you would like to submit a question, it can be e-mailed to Summit’s admin over counseling at (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail). Please limit your questions to 3-7 sentences. This is not a forum for to request or receive counseling. No responses will be sent to questions other than those selected for a video response.