I started the book a couple months ago and as most young mother's know, ample time to read isn't a habitual luxury for us. However, as of late, I've been burdened by my parenting as I watch Braydon advance both in conscience and behavior.
I knew some of my methods and speeches needed to evolve to accommodate this growth, but to be honest I wasn't sure how to take that next step.
Despite my insecurities, my burden was great and I knew it was important to figure out what Bray needed next. So each day for the past couple weeks I set aside time to read and ask God how I could better teach my little ones. Even if it was just for 15 minutes.
Thanks to snowmaggedon yesterday, I received an unusual amount of time to accomplish this goal.
And in addition to my two hours of uninterrupted, blissful, coffee-consuming, cookie-eating hours, Bob and I sat down to discuss key principles and objectives that stuck out from my readings. It was such a sweet time and was just what we needed to establish our next step in disciplining/ instructing.
To be honest, I don't know if Bob and I have ever done that. Sit and discuss our parenting tactics. Which is kind of embarrassing since our son is three and all. Sorry, kid.
BUT, we feel really really good about what was decided and here are some nuggets from that conversation.
- When Bray gets in trouble (like caught hitting or taking toys) we will say something like: "This is why Jesus came. Because we have hearts that want to hit, steal, and be ugly. But God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to come change us into givers not takers." The italicized words will be replaced depending on the offense...I'm sure we will include more in each chat and at times send him to time out to ask Jesus to make him want to be a giver. But the significance of this speech is to eliminate the "be good, not bad" or "try harder," when we know as adults we need God's help to obey. Why not teach him that dependance on God's help now?
- In regards to spanking. We will only spank when he's directly disobeyed or lied. We decided to send him to his room and wait for us to discipline him (gives us time to cool down and eliminate spanking in anger). Right before spanking, we will say something like "You did not obey Mommy (or Daddy) and now I'll have to spank you. You know that I am not mad at you, but you must learn to obey."
- Obedience is without challenge, excuse, or delay. If we accept any of those responses we are training disobedience...There is room to appeal by way of a request like "Mom, can I finish coloring my page before I go to bed?" Regardless of our reply he must obey.
- When talking in a whiny voice (a big issue for Bray), he will receive instruction and example on how to make his request in a normal voice. If he continues to whine he goes to timeout. If he begins to throw a fit he's sent to his room for a spanking or to calm down.
- Let Bray know God made him special; for God and to obey God.
- No imperatives. Under no circumstance can Bray direct us or give demands.
- In a culture where submission is frowned upon, Bray needs to see examples of rightful submission to authority in our home: Daddy to God, Mommy to Daddy, child to parent.
- Bray is reminded each morning that he has two jobs for the day. 1. To obey mommy and daddy, because God said so and He's the boss. 2. To love and protect his baby sister.
While this may seem like overkill to some, it's absolutely necessary for us.
Inconsistency is too easy in parenting, especially when you are flying by the seat of your pants. In many ways that's what Bob and I have been doing and we see how harmful it is to our children.
I LOVE being a mom and take seriously this job I've been given. It won't last forever and sooner than I want to admit, my children will be adults making decisions for themselves. We get one shot at this. One shot to set a biblical foundation and give them life skills to thrive in this world.
Victory does not come to the faint of heart.
And it will be costly.