Parenting is not easy. I tried. I continue to try. And even yesterday I felt like a huge failure in my efforts to parent. But with every struggle comes learning opportunity; and my end result is that I want our boys to grow up to love and live like Jesus.
I know and have seen several parents who refrain from discipline - because they only see it as punishment or "not loving" - but in honesty, more harm can come from that mindset than setting rules.
We want our family to follow Jesus; that means being disciplined. Discipline is to teach - and to teach about Jesus we must also act like him. We must be loving, for our actions, show our hearts. An action has a reaction in everything we do. As a teacher and parent there are lines that can be crossed. If it is emotionally, physically, spiritually or sexually abusive - THAT IS NOT DISCIPLINE OR OUT OF LOVE and not okay.
OUR FAMILY RULES:
1) Listen and obey the first time
2) Be gentle with our words and actions
3) Have a good and generous attitude; being okay with being told no.
We give people respect and honor and follow our rules because we LOVE PEOPLE.
1) Listen and Obey ** Titus 3:1, Ephesians 6: 1 [Children, obey your parents in the lord, for this is right] - This is my favorite rule; It can cover anything to keep your child safe and your sanity in tact. Think of all the times that the bible talks about obeying. God loved us, we should obey. We love our children and we want them to obey. I believe that the foundation of obeying is trust. Asking a child to listen and obey reminds them that we love and care about them and their actions. One of our son's favorite bible stories is Jonah and the big fish - great example of obedience.
2) Be Gentle ** James 1:19-20 and Galatians 5:25-26, Titus 3:2 [to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people] - The bible is so full of the word gentle or meek. For boys, gentle might look differently. The word gentle, non-violent, or passive does not mean we are defenseless and should be taken advantaged of. Being gentle is showing others love and compassion, what God calls us to do. The meek will inherit the earth.
3) Have a good attitude ** Matthew 6:24, Luke 12:22 - 27, Hebrews 13:5 [Keep your life free from love of money, and to be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."] - we originally started this rule off with "be content". But to a small child "content" is an abstract idea . The word "attitude" is something that we can see. As our oldest has grown and developed a bigger vocabulary we talk about attitude, contentment, and generosity all under the same umbrella. To be followers of Christ, we are asked to die to ourselves. This rule goes a long way when it comes to birthday parties or simply sharing. It is also written with rule number one, listen and obey in mind. To be content means to be okay with being told no.
We have these rules because we love people - John 13:34-35 [A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.]
***Note, there are lots of scripture to reinforce our beliefs, although not all are listed. Being content, gentle, having a good attitude while we listen and obey is how we have asked our family to show people love.
So that's great, right? Some rules, like you haven't read or heard of them before. Some of you out there might even be thinking - what does she know.... I've seen her kids throw fits. I've seen her kids.... x, y, z. I'm not trying to claim our rules are fool proof. I am not trying to claim perfection. I tried parenting; and it's hard. Believe me, there are times that I ask our oldest to pray for my attitude because mommy is not having a good one.
I am just sharing what our family has chosen to do. We believe in the Bible, and that our rules come from that. They are FAMILY rules; my husband and I follow them too.
So what happens when the rule is broken?
Rules were easy to develop and find in the bible, however the consequences take more time and adjustment. Our rules have not really changed in four years we have had kids. But our consequences have. As we grow as parents and as we learn what effects our little ones.
When you hear the word consequence do you typically think of punishment? When you hear the word discipline do you think of the word punishment? A consequence can be positive and negative. Every action has a reaction.
I truly believe that every parent will have to determine what consequences works best for them and their child.
My two thoughts when it comes to consequences:
1) was the choice in their control, did they break the rule? Example: our oldest throwing a fit before bed, well it was our fault as parents for letting him stay up late. The consequence of OUR choice is his attitude. He can control it, but we did not help him.
2) can you find something to be positive about? Make everything a learning opportunity and always try to find positive.
I had an extensive list of what we have tried with our kiddos. But it gets to be a long list. If you have questions on what to do if..... or how to treat...... please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.
What are some rules you live by?
I tried parenting - it is hard. I pray that one day my boys will be able to contribute to society and love people.