Who hasn't ever found themselves verbally correcting their children? Who hasn't felt like walking up to someone and saying "Hello, my name is She-who-says-'no, no, stop-that'-all-day-long. What's yours?"
Calling our children out on their words or actions can serve as a reminder of how they're supposed to act. However, when their behavior becomes a repeated behavior, I don't feel that calling them out is as effective, as I don't see it as a form of correction or discipline but as a reminder.
You've seen moms who regularly tell their children "That is not o.k." when they name call or speak rudely, hit, etc. and that's great, young children need to be reminded. The problem come when mom continues to repeat the "that is not o.k." refrain over and over, with little to no change in the child's behavior.
As the child gets older, he/she knows that name calling, hitting, speaking rudely, etc., is not o.k. However, they are often willing to risk it if they know that they're only going to get a verbal correction. At this point of continual, repeated behavior it is my opinion that he doesn't need a reminder but a consequence.
One of the difficult things about correction and discipline is the emotion involved. Mom or dad might feel upset because the child misbehaved. They may feel frustrated, angry, hurt, etc., and now they have to try and come up with a reasonable, effective consequence.
They're frustrated because the child disobeyed. They might be hurt or angry and might be taking it personally, as if it's a reflection on their parenting.
Ever tried to think when you're angry or hurt? How's that working for you?
Try not to get upset. Does a police officer get all upset when he gives you a ticket? Does he cry and whine and complain that "I can't believe you did this AGAIN!!!" Is he hurt or mad because he had to give you a ticket? No, he is calm and does his job.
This is the time when you might overreact with a consequence because you're upset. This is the time when you may talk your child to death, like verbal vomit, because you're frustrated. This is the time when the child's eyes may glaze over and they tune you out, because you go on....and on.....and on!
I think it's always good to try and use natural consequences and tie a consequence to their actions whenever possible, it will help them remember the consequence better. But that is not always easy to do if you are upset with their behavior. It's hard to be creative if you're upset.
As parents, we had many established consequences for certain actions. If a transgression and a consequence is written down, it will take away much of the "emotion" out of the equation. This way you act calmly with the consequence instead of just reacting emotionally to the behavior.
If you have a transgression = consequence list written down, you can go over it with your children before anything occurs. You can let them know your expectations (no name calling, no hitting, etc.) and also what will happen if they misbehave.
By having a consequence already figured out, when they misbehave you can calmly bring the child to the list and say "This is what you did and here is the consequence." Then you carry it out. We also had a Bible verse which was attached to each consequence.
For awhile we used something called an "If'-Then" chart. When they misbehaved we brought them to the list and pointed out their misbehavior, read them the Bible verse, and then reminded them what the correction/discipline was going to be. This took the emotion out of it on our part, and the kids couldn't say "I didn't know" on their part. (Note: I am not being paid or compensated by this company in any way)
This is the blessing you have been given as a parent. The responsibility of training, growing, nurturing and raising your children to be caring, mature, responsible adults!
Correction and discipline are part of it. Expect an opportunity to correct and train your child, be thankful for it. Now you have the opportunity to instill some wisdom, character values, internal boundaries, and life lessons into your child. Always reassure them afterward with your love and hugs when you are correcting or disciplining.
Remember, there is a difference between childish irresponsibility and direct disobedience. Direct disobedience is when you tell them not to do something and they do it anyway, not because they forgot but because they are rebelling against your authority. Childish irresponsibility means that they just forgot or got distracted or whatever because they're a child.
So you will want to determine if it's childish irresponsibility or rebellion. In our case, if it was a direct disobedience thing the consequence was more than just the typical childhood irresponsibility training consequence.
Forgetting to set the table or deliberately saying "I hate you" and disrespectfully walking away when your mom or dad is talking to you are two different things. Forgetting to set the table for dinner one night is not a heart of rebellion against a parental authority, obviously.
Children are a precious joy, but disciplining them can be a challenge to your heart and emotions as well as your creativity. You want to raise loving, respectful kids, but sometimes you just get tired! Just remember that, in a way, you aren't raising children, you are raising adults! So stay the course and make your home sing!
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(If you missed the rest of the "31 Days of Making Your Home Sing" series you can find it here!)
I am also linking up to We Are That Family blog carnival this week!
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