Difficulty in Discipline

Parenting is a difficult task that includes difficult decisions. We want our children to grow up to be responsible adults. Sometimes, in that process, discipline is required to try to insure that happens.

It is important that our children learn to be responsible and tell the truth.

room-cleanlinessRecently, one of our children failed to keep their room clean. This was what you might call an “epic failure” of room cleanliness. But it wasn’t only the lack of keeping the room clean as much as it was this child’s failure to tell us the truth about it. All of our children are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. The problem was that over the course of many weeks, this child lied to us about the state of the cleanliness of the room.

In our household, this requires discipline. Among a sentence of grounding, included the privilege of trick-or-treating being taken away. Some may think this harsh and it hurt us as parents some because we realize there are only so many years you get to do this as a child. But the offense was realized the week of Halloween and happened to be during the term of the grounding.

We also knew that we had to hand down a punishment that would be remembered and would have an impact. This child was looking forward to Halloween, as many kids do, and going around the neighborhood with friends.

As parents, it is more important to us that our children learn to be trustworthy and responsible than that they get to do something they enjoy.

Sometimes, as hard as it is, you have to draw a hard line and stick to it.

Be consistent with discipline and also be fair. But know that what seems fair to you will likely not seem fair to your children!

 

Forced Intentionality

Being a homeschool family, we get to participate more in our children’s education. This year, I read through Where the Red Fern Grows with our youngest son. This has been a quality experience of spending time together and enjoying a great story. For those few minutes each night, we get to wander off into the woods and go ‘coon huntin’.

For those of you that haven’t read it, this book tells a wonderful story about a boy’s journey in acqshedule-timeuiring hunting dogs and teaching them how to hunt for raccoons. It’s filled with exciting adventures sure to engage and enthrall the minds of young boys.

My wife would get teary-eyed reading it to our 10-year old so I got assigned the task of the reading. This turned out to be an enjoyable time that both my son and I could look forward to.

As a Dad, it forced me to take time out of my day and spend it with one of the kids. This is important anyway, and having this “forced intentionality” was a helpful reminder to me to schedule in time with each of my kids.

About a year ago, I had the kids on a rotation where I would take one out for an early morning breakfast on Fridays. This worked okay but I typically leave for work at 6 so, to get them up early, take them out, bring them home and then leave for work, really wasn’t the most ideal situation for any of us. But the one-on-one time was good so perhaps I should do it on Saturday.

Lately, I’ve been playing games in the evenings, usually with my daughter, before bedtime.

Homeschool has huge benefits in that our kids aren’t involved in a bunch of school activities that takes them away in the evenings. We are not tied down to weeknights planned for us by the school schedule. Certainly there are benefits to allowing our children to participate in a variety of activities but there are also boundaries we can set as parents. How much family time are you willing to sacrifice so your child can be involved in another activity?

A schedule too busy takes you away from the benefits and blessings of reading a good book to your child. And it denies your child the blessing of spending the time with mom or dad.

7 Things Your Children Need to Hear You Say

Someone is watching you. He is three and a half feet tall, has grass stains on his jeans and answers to the name “Squirt.”

Our children are born into the world looking like us. Then they start talking like us and acting like us. Is it important to consider how we talk and act? Definitely. Your kids are watching you and taking it all in. You are their example of how to act in this world.

So, I am going to provide you with some things your children need to hear you say.

1. “I love you.”
This sometimes seems to be easier for mom than it is for dad, especially as the kids get older but this is THE most important thing you can say to your kids. You need to say it consistently every day. Your kids need to hear this to know they are loved! It makes them feel the safety and security that we all desire to provide for our children.

2. “Amen.”
Your kids need to hear you praying. Whether at the dinner table or quietly during your quiet time with your Bible, they need to know you have a relationship with the Lord. Whether your kids are born-again believers yet or not, they need to know that you are.

3. “I’m sorry.”
We often demand that our kids apologize to us or other when they have done something wrong. We need to also set the example and apologize to them when we do them wrong. We are not perfect and our kids need to know that we know we are not perfect and sometime make mistakes. Apologizing communicates humility which is a character quality we want our own children to have.

4. “You’re really good at…”
We all like to be affirmed in our talents. Let you kids know what they are good at, even if they aren’t really that good at it yet. Encourage them in something they love, whether it’s baseball, playing the piano, acting or riding a unicycle!communicate1

5. “I missed you.”
Let your kids know you like it when they are around. They will know this when you tell them that you missed them. After you get back from a trip or they get back from spending the night at a friends house, tell them you missed them. Again…even if you didn’t because you really needed the break! They will feel loved and safe and will be happy to be home.

6. “You’re funny.”
I don’t really do as well as I should with this one. I got this from somewhere else and I can’t remember where or I would credit them. But kids like to be funny and like to think they are funny. But kids don’t always tell the funniest jokes or stories though they sometimes try. But sometimes, try to remember to tell them they are funny after they’ve told you a joke. Communicate the appreciation you have of them. Let them know in this way that you like to have them around.

7. “You’re a great kid.”
Sometimes kids disobey and we need to discipline them. But sometimes they do obey. And sometimes they even obey without even being asked. Be observant enough to know when this happens. Pay attention and let them know you appreciate it. We all want to be better than “good”. We want to be great! Tell your kids they are.

BONUS:

You want a bonus? If you said “yes” then read on!

8. “I’m glad your my son/daughter.”
There is a lot of competition among peers. Sometimes kids think they aren’t good enough because other kids put them down so much. Let your kids know you are glad they are your child. This might be about as important as telling them “I love you.” Sometimes kids wish they were like someone else who is more talented or popular. But you need to let them know you like them just the way they are and wouldn’t want any other kid to be their son.

Maybe you already say these things but maybe there are some that you don’t say or don’t say enough. Start now. Start tonight. Continue to build your relationship with them. You can do it! I know you can. Because you’re a great parent.

Lead your children on!