I have been working on my old blog (Grace in Bloom), pruning it to get it ready to some day turn it back on. I have read through every post I wrote since I started. Here is one thing that stood out very plainly to me...
My kids used to be pretty well-behaved. Last winter we had the children pretty well trained. They were following orders after being told to do something only once. They knew what was expected of them and they complied. And, we parents rarely had to raise our voices... ever. I was not afraid to go to church or have friends over. In May, we even had another family of 6 stay at our home for about 10 days. During all this time, my web-log shoes that the children were doing very well.
THEN... I got sicker and weaker. You likely remember that I could hardly walk last May through June. I certainly could not run and play in the yard with the kids. I had a hard time getting around. I could not cook or clean. And, Paul (or Rebecca) had to dress me.
THAT is when the children's behavior began to change! Instead of getting up to enforce my commands, I would not be able to get up.
First, you need to know that we correct our children with Scripture. We believe Scripture is the only standard by which to raise your children by, therefore is it the primary discipling tool. When a child in our home misbehaves we take them to a private bedroom and speak with them about their sin. We read or quote Scriptures to them to show them they have sinned. And, often, we reinforce these teachings with a firm nudge to their bottoms.
But, this is what things have looked like in our home since Mommy got sick:
Nelson would run in the house or jump off the furniture. We have LONG standing rules forbidding any such behavior INDOORS. I would say, from the couch, "Nelson, are you allowed to jump on the furniture?" Nelson says, "no," and then runs about the house and jumps on the couch again. I get a little louder, "Nelson, you are NOT to jump on the couch." Nelson looks at me then runs off again to jump on the bed. I am, meanwhile, sitting on the couch crying, because I cannot get up... so I scream, "NELSON, STOP!" This gets his attention...finally... and he sits down (for a few minutes).
Do you see what has happened in my home? I do. I fell short, and the kids began to rule me! I was being inconsistent. I said that I expected certain behavior, but I did not immediately correct the problems that came along. Over time (a few months), the younger children have turned into little monsters. (Rebecca is different. The Lord has changed her heart- she is a Christian. She obeys from a genuine desire to please and serve the Lord!)
So, here is the new gameplan. I sat down with them this morning and had a discussion with the children. I asked them if they used to behave better than they do now. They are readily agreed that they used to behave better. I asked if they used to obey when Mommy said something once, and they answered to the affirmative. Then, I told them that Mommy was being sinful in her inconsistencies. And, I said that they were sinful in the lack of honor for me (and Daddy, at times, but usually me).
God was with us... and the children listened. They are already behaving better. And, I am already being more consistent. I am guessing that the next few days will be exhausting, but I know there will be some immediate results (and others that will take much longer).
So, that is my confession. I hope that you will be encouraged in your own parenting from this post. If you are not yet a parent, I hope that you will glean something positive from it as well.