Because we know that our children are entrusted to us by God to raise up as He sees fit it is important that we come to understand how God would want us to raise our children. We also know that some of God’s tactics are not looked on as brightly as they once were and yet God does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). His methods are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
There are some things that come easily to us as parents, like giving our children good gifts. In Matthew 7:9-11 Jesus uses this innate ability to demonstrate God’s ability to give us good things when we ask. Some things on the other hand we are bad enough at that we need specific instruction. In Proverbs 13:24 we have a bit of wisdom that is very often hard to chew. It says that to not discipline our children is in essence to hate them whereas conversely if we really love them we will not hold back discipline when it is needed. We see this quite often with God in the Old Testament. As He is our example to follow we have to realize that when the children of Israel were rebelling and full of sin He took it into His own hands to punish them. Job 5:17 says that happy (blessed) is the man that is corrected by God and not to hate His discipline. It is the same as with parents. A child is blessed by a parent that cares enough to discipline, as God directs, though it may be a struggle not to hate it while it is happening.
On the flip side of that we are also instructed not to exasperate our children. We see this admonition in both Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21. These two verses to use seem to make the same warning but the original words for exasperate in these verse are different. One means not to anger or rouse to wrath while the other means not to stir up or excite. A common word between the two though is not to provoke. By taking a look at the second half of these verses we can better understand how God is instructing us as parents. In Ephesians we see what we are to do instead and that is to train kids up in the teachings of Christ. In the KJV the phrase is ‘bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’. Colossians is a warning not to discourage our children. Therefore I believe these verses give us a line to not cross while raising children. We are to teach them everything about God we are able, and what it is to live a life in Christ. We are to discipline them when they go astray, become disobedient, defiant, and rebellious but the fine line is set not to exasperate them. Not to be the force in their lives that discourages and disheartens them. We are not to be the thorn in their heats that causes great anger and wrath.
This does not mean that our discipline is never to make them angry because assuredly it will. No one really loves to be corrected. Proverbs 23:13-14 tells us that a spanking will not kill our children and may even save their lives. Though they may not appreciate it in the moment typically a child will recover from discipline and be better for it.
These verses I believe mark a line between helpful disciple of a loving parent and either abuse or a child that is unwilling to learn. Obviously abuse in any form is wrong and God does not desire for our disciplining to become an act of abuse. Therefore we have to be mindful that we are disciplining out of love and not anger and that it is for the bettering of our child not because of our wounded pride or such things. A child that refuses to learn though is a much harder thing to come to terms with. These children are rebellious at their core and regardless of how lovingly a parent implements discipline this child does not want to listen and will instead be provoked to great anger towards the parent and/or great discouragement in self. A parent then has to wrestle with their duty as parents and verses like Proverbs 23:9 and Matthew 7:6. These are not easy issues to face and require extensive outcries for wisdom; God will give it (James 1:5). Remember too that God has had a very rebellious child in the nation of Israel and though He attempted to correct them for centuries they refused to listen and learn even from His loving correction. It is because of their rebellion that the rest of us have the opportunity to be grafted into the family of God. God knew the rebellious heart of Israel when He selected them as His people. God also knew of the rebellious heart of your child and He has a plan for good even if you cannot see it (Romans 8:28). Do not be discouraged. Seek His divine wisdom.