Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I is for Ingenuity

Dear Moms,

The next key word for the letter, “I” of discipline is INGENUITY. They say “ NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION.” Never is a mother in more need, than in the area of daily wisdom for discipline. A mother needs to be on her toes, think on her feet, and be creative. This is a must. She must do all she can to keep her eye on the goal of raising these children to be strong Christians and well adjusted human beings. If her focus is not on that goal, discipline can become tedious and a chore, rather than a necessary training,which if done right will provide good fruit and growth in character. We all know how long it takes us to grow in character; this truth alone should give us the patience needed to patiently train our offspring. After all, our Father God is ever so patient with us. Scripture says, “BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER PATIENTLY.” I think God was thinking of moms when He said that. Remember mom it does not say BE A BEAR. Although too many sleepless nights with a newborn, makes you feel like that some days, especially when facing your toddler who decided that her favorite word for the week is going to be NO. That just brings out the Bear in all of us; nonetheless, patience is the rule.

As I said earlier in the week, there is more than one way to discipline a child. This gives us moms a chance to use the creative side of the brain. A good rule of thumb is try to make the punishment fit the crime. For example, if they spill their drink on purpose, because accidents happen, let them wipe it up, providing them with a cloth. You can kindly say, We drink our drinks. We don’t spill our drinks.” If they snatch a toy, you might kindly say, “Sean had that toy first, let’s return it.’ Then encourage them to give the toy back to their friend. You might add, we will set the timer and when the buzzer rings, it will be your turn to play with the toy. If a teenager is late for curfew he could be grounded. In my home if a child did not start his chores, I would set the timer and when it would buzz, I would promptly assign them an additional chore, always with a smile and a kind explanation. It sure beat yelling.

I already shared how and when we would spank in our home. See danger, disobedience and disrespect. There is also time out as a discipline for young children. Time out should be age appropriate. I would not start time out until they are almost two. Then I use, the rule, two minutes for two year olds, three minute for three year old and so on until five year olds. I would place them in a time out chair in the same room with me. I would never use the words bad boy or even bad chair, because that is name calling. We want to build our children up and not tear them down. I would kindly say, “You need time to cool down,” that is if they were angry. Or , “You need time to think about what you just did,” if they were mean to a friend. Or even, my personal favorite, “You need time to pray to Jesus to change your attitude.” I personally feel that once they are five, it is safe to put then in their room, because sometime removing them from the situation in a tangible way has a quick way of bringing results. In other words, they miss the fun and are anxious to get back to where all the people are.

Discipline as we said in a previous blog, is used to change a behavior. If the behavior is not changing it should become evident to you mom, that that form of discipline is not working. Another way of changing behavior is using the positive, rather than the negative. Think Rewards, Think accomplishment Charts, Think Praise. I tell mothers that when, if at all possible, encourage the positive behavior and ignore the negative behavior. For example if you make an issue out of eating, most likely your toddler will use not eating as a power play. If you scream every time they smash the cookies in the rug , this will become a behavior they do often, daily if possible, especially if your “cookie smasher” is two. Try instead to PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE good behavior then Praise some more. I promise you results will come quickly. A positive parent will say often throughout the day, “I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!” Or “I LIKE THE WAY YOU ARE SHARING WITH YOUR FRIEND!” Or, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!” This works with all ages, especially teenager. I am a positive parent. Do you know what my teenage boy says to me? He says, “MOM, YOU KNOW WHY I DON’T LIKE YOU?” “WHY,”I kindly respond. “BECAUSE, YOU ARE TOO NICE. IF YOU WERE JUST NICE SOME OF THE TIME, THEN IT WOULD BE SPECIAL, BUT YOU ARE NICE ALL THE TIME.” Yes, teenagers are like two year olds. If that is the only thing your child doesn’t like about you, mom, I’d say that is a job well done. Positive Parenting will never fail and the good news is they outgrow most of the behavior problems.

Lastly, don’t forget to pray. Ask God for an Ingenious way to handle a particular problem that has you stumped. Our God is a personal God who knows you and knows your child. Also pray with your child to over come a behavior problem. It will give you both Hope.

What do you think? E-mail Ellen (momsbestwisdom at yahoo dot com)


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