The common and probably most practical punishment for a dirty mouth is to wash it out with soap. The irony of this metaphor was not humorous as a child, and can be more easily appreciated as an adult. The progression is natural: soap cleans dirty things and if a child’s mouth is “dirty” with their language then they need it cleaned out with soap. Some may call it child abuse, but that child will not be so quick to use dirty language next time the opportunity permits itself! What it should be called is love because punishment is a necessary and God-ordained way to help children become followers of Christ. In fact, not disciplining would be more like child abuse.
A wise father said, “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings” (Proverbs 4:20, ESV). A wise parent can stand firm in the instruction they give to their children because their wisdom came from God. A hard rule often to grasp by children is to speak nicely. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you” (Proverbs 4:23–24). In other words, do not use bad words.
How is a child supposed to know which way to go in life without any guidance? Ideally, the child will have parents to help direct, but if that is not possible a mentor can change that child’s life for the better. “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil” (Proverbs 4:25–27). Remember, these words are instruction from a wise parent. God wants to help direct our paths in life. This in no way means He wants to control us and play us like puppets. If that were the case, He would have slapped Eve’s hand away from the fruit. God wants us to have the freedom of choice and choose which path in life we will take.
Without parents and mentors, children will be lost in this world. Satan is pushing and pulling from every direction to get them off the right path. What are you doing to help strengthen their stance in God?