Minding our own business. You probably have one or know one. Children are curious sponges. That doesn’t make it acceptable for children to hang around the kitchen table eavesdropping on adult conversation. Nosey Rosy wants to know why her sister is in time-out, who you are talking to on the phone and what the bill was. You may mistake this for genuine concern, it is not, they need boundaries. When they are caught lingering in the kitchen around adult talk, tell them to scat.
The tongue has the power of life and death
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Liar, Liar, Your Butt Will Be On Fire
Lying. This one is a big offense. Not only did your child do something wrong but now she is trying to cover it up. I think this is actually worse than the offense itself and the Bible tells us that it is. God forgives our sins, when we repent. Repenting begins with fessing up. If we don’t fess up, we can’t be forgiven. God humbles us through confession. If you catch your child in a lie, double the punishment. And then explain to them that if they had just admitted it, they would have had half the consequence. Don’t forget to tell them the most important part: God’s grace and forgiveness is available if we tell Him we are sorry. Our sins are wiped clean—when we admit to them.
What a man desires is unfailing love;
Better to be poor than a liar.
A fortune made by a lying tongue
Is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.
It is one thing to make perfectly clear to your children that you will not tolerate bad behavior. This is the basis of good discipline. It is another thing to actually consistently demonstrate to them what happens when they cross the line.
Don’t say you are not going to Michael’s birthday party and let your child go. Don’t ground them and let them off. Don’t tell your child she does not deserve to have a friend come over and then allow the friend to come over.
This lack of follow-through conditions our child to think: I can do what I want and I will probably end up getting what I want in spite of what my parents say or threaten. This also creates a teen or adult who will find it difficult to work for something or follow through on commitments because they were “trained” that they never had to really work very hard to get what they wanted and there were very little consequences for bad behavior. Always keep in mind the future effect of today’s actions.
Word to the Wise:
Discipline isn’t about today, it is about accumulating wisdom for tomorrow.
The beginning of discipline is fear of consequences. And as your child grows and becomes an adult, we must transfer the fear of parental consequences to the healthy fear of the Lord. Then, when we send them off to college or out into the world, we must trust in God and His ability to “discipline” and bring them back when they stray.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For through Me your days will be many
and years will be added to your life.
If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.
Do you want to know the secret to the easiest way of all to discipline our children? Avoid the need for discipline in the first place! One way to do this is to offer our children a stimulating environment so that they can grow and learn safely. When children are stimulated with play dates, parents making cookies with them, trips to the park, quiet time with books and a space that is their own, their behavior reflects that gift. They will be happier and will test the limits less often. Children shouldn’t have to fight to be recognized. Spending time as a family is an investment that will return 100% profit on its investment and laughter is total bank.
When their desire for attention is fulfilled, children become less of an attention seeker and more peaceful and content with their individuality, family and friends. When our God-given talents are nourished and we feel accepted and safe, we tend to be more content. This is where we become better listeners, open to other’s point of view, less defensive and selfless. The proverbs tell us that we are what we think.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…
Another Word About Schedules
I know I’ve stated the importance of a schedule before but I’m going to do it again. Having our children on schedules is the best way to head off bad behavior caused by being hungry or tired. We can simply look at our watches, realize when it is nap time or snack time and stick with the program. It’s a lot more pleasant to say, “Oh, it’s nap time”, before your child falls crying to the floor then to be forced to say “You need a time-out” once the tantrum has begun.
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Change It Up
No one wants to hear “No” all day. Your child’s vocabulary will reflect the negativity. Instead of saying “no”- when she goes to touch something that she shouldn’t, simply state, “That is Daddy’s”. Or, ask her a question, “Whose paper is that?” They may point to the person or say their name. This puts the idea in their head that if it wasn’t theirs, they probably shouldn’t touch it. If something is dirty and you don’t want her to touch it, (like smelly dog beds), wrinkle your nose in disgust and say, “You don’t want to touch that, it is dirty.” Unless it’s dangerous, don’t ever put things up or remove things out of a room and your children learn what they can touch and what they can’t without hearing the word “No” all day. Change it up. Turn a no into something more creative—and effective.
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
Give careful attention to your herds..
“If you’re good, I’ll take you to Toys ‘R’ Us and buy you a toy.”
Never bribe, ever. The message it relays to your child is that you can be taken out with a little acting up. You look desperate for their cooperation. This is not how to get true respect. Children want a feeling of security. They actually like knowing that someone is in charge. If you have to perform tricks and pull things out of hats to get your children to listen to you, an association between behaving and getting something in return has been created. Rewards are for good behavior and bribes are undeserving rewards. You can avoid this all together by rarely buying your children something when you are out grocery shopping or other wise. There are other avenues to reward. Such as the bakery in your supermarket that gives out a free cookie to children. It doesn’t have to be a new toy or anything else in the aisles. This way, that seed isn’t planted and it won’t turn into a power struggle.
A greedy man brings trouble to his family,
But he who hates bribes will live.