This blog is simply the telling of one helpmeet and mother's quest to fulfill her God-ordained destiny. It is written with the hopes that other young women will embrace their calling to be godly wives and mothers; that they will be encouraged to love their husband and children and will find contentment in being keepers at home.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hints for Teaching Children to Behave

By:  Sherry Hayes

The weather is warm, the schoolwork is light; time for a summer project–getting children to behave!

There is something extremely interesting I have discovered over the past several years; when you have a large number of children, you are in actuality rearing a number of families, one after the other. Our first family, so-to-speak, is already out of the house. We are on our second family now. This present situation is very different from the first in many ways; for one thing, our living circumstances have changed, and we were not as mature (or as old) as we are today.
Even the children are different. The individual personalities that make up our whole have a distinct flavor, and for that reason we have adjusted accordingly. I also find myself having to relive many parental moments of instruction; things I thought I had already covered, I’m having to go over once more. After 30 years, we are still dealing with childishness, and we are having to back up and re-examine the fundamentals.
Most of our current practices are just the same as when we first began our family, although many of them have been refined through experience, perspective, and of course, a clearer understanding of God’s Word. I thought it would be a good idea to compile these and share some of the most important ones with you.

Use God’s Word.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
This is the go-to source for parenting. Study Proverbs, over and over, for basic instruction in wisdom and righteousness, then go through and glean gems from the rest of the Holy Bible. Have these at the ready whenever it is time for correction, such as:
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10)
This is appropriate to use when one child is mistreating another in any way.
Also, teach these principles daily to your children so that they will recognize them when you bring them up.

Get the child’s full attention.

For me, eye contact is a must. The eyes are the windows to the soul. When I take the time to ensure that I have my child’s full attention, it’s much easier to correct or advise.
Be totally engaged. Especially in these crazy, inattentive times, this is one of the most important characteristics of good parenting and a mannerism that is difficult to practice. Phone calls, social media, gadgets and entertainment of every type all vie for our attention. But parenting is just like investing; you cannot expect a good return with a minimal expenditure. Do you desire well-behaved, respectful, children? Then you must be willing to give them your complete heart. Neither the computer, nor the DVD player, nor the preschool program will be able to perform the job that God has laid at your feet. Even if the pastor himself should call upon you to divert your energy and focus for some other “good” cause make the better choice to be mommy to your children!

Beware of the “monologue”.

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Proverbs 29:15)
There is certainly a place for “lecturing”, but too many of us rely on the wagging of our tongues to do the entire job of godly correction, yet this is the most inefficient of methods. While we are called upon to reason with our children (reproof), it’s a sign of laziness and neglect when a parent continually harps on the same subject or gives numerous “warnings” without taking any remedial action. My own children have been well known to deliberately encourage continued dialogue on some principle, or ask for a story of illustration (remember, we are older and have a lot of these to share!) so that they can postpone or even avoid discipline altogether!

Make correction meaningful.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Proverbs 19:18)
If you are too timid to cause your child any discomfort, then you do not really care for him at all. There are certain things that can only be learned through the application of discipline; and these dealings have to cause a measured amount of discomfort. A child that has never had his will trained in this way is being prepared for a life of misery–for everyone whom God loves receives His correction, and those who have been trained to recognize it are the most happy (blessed).
There is a knot tied between the soul and sin, a true lover’s knot; they two became one flesh. It is true of ourselves, it is true of our children, whom we have begotten in our own likeness. O God! thou knowest this foolishness…correction is necessary to the cure of it. It will not be got out by fair means and gentle methods; there must be strictness and severity, and that which will cause grief. Children need to be corrected, and kept under discipline, by their parents; and we all need to be corrected by our heavenly Father (Heb. 12:6, 7), and under the correction we must stroke down folly and kiss the rod. (Matthew Henry on Proverbs 22:15) * [Never to the point of abuse or neglect.]

Praise and reward good behavior.

This is not always easy, as we tend to become busy or even grumpy ourselves and often overlook some of the best parts of parenting. Here is a fun exercise; one morning, instead of correcting for a bad job, start passing out M & M candies to anyone you “catch” performing a task well–I do this every once-in-a-while and it is so enjoyable!

Words are powerful things–dole out the encouraging ones as much as possible. It’s said that it takes ten positive comments to cancel out the effect of one negative comment.
While meting out the correction, make sure and pile on the encouragement where appropriate (not empty flattery). Here are some words and phrases you might consider employing; “You are such a blessing, I am so glad God gave you to me!”, “Good job!”, “You did that exactly right!”, “You work so well that it gives me joy just to watch you!”, “I am so impressed by your good attitude, keep it up!”, “You cheer everyone up by your smile and happy ways!”, etc.
Delight in your child without puffing him or her up. What do you praise? Good outward appearance?–No, it’s beyond the power of the child to affect change in his or her hair color or facial features. Rather than focusing on your child’s intelligence or shallow behavioral traits, try encouraging their servant-hood, kindness, honesty, respectful behavior and hard work.

Take time to instruct your children, then explain what the consequences are for misbehaving.

Children do not automatically know how to act properly. This can be very embarrassing for them when not intentional, not to mention disruptive, especially at times when they need to be respectful and quiet. No one wants to have the expensive meal they paid for interrupted by the unruly behavior of someone else’s children screaming or hiding under the table!
Young ones need to have someone explain to them that it is not polite to roam around and touch all of the merchandise well before they ever set foot into a store. They need to have some role-playing on precisely how to act at someone else’s house, at church and during prayer, etc. Then they need to know just what may happen if they do not comply. I have been known to actually post these things on the refrigerator and refer to them at the appropriate times. This will give children a sense of security and the knowledge that justice is being done.

Demand respect.

It’s a comfort and a protection for children to obey and observe propriety when responding and conversing with their elders, including extended family and older siblings. Parents are to be respected above all, and children must be trained to respond obediently and correctly. Even if an older child is expressing a differing opinion, the use of respectful words and tones will go a long way towards fostering understanding!
If a child fails to respond promptly, I require that he or she “practice” coming quickly ten times. If he or she can’t come quickly, I have instructed them to call out, “Coming, Mother,” as loud as is necessary for me to hear (we have a large house). When being addressed, he or she is to be in a listening posture, not allowed to “negotiate” and must answer with “Yes, Ma’am” or “No, Ma’am”, whichever is fitting.
Homeschooling is impossible without discipline. I have always considered that our chores were an indispensable part of our educational scheme. There have been many individuals who have been talented and highly educated, and yet their lack of attention to life’s basic courtesies, their slothful attitudes, and moral failures have all contributed to a wasted and shipwrecked life. Having your children help with the responsibilities of family life can give you as a parent the opportunity to diagnose problems and deal with them before they become a permanent behavioral trait of your child’s personality and character.
A child who refuses to respond quickly when called, who constantly talks-back or negotiates, and who is not held accountable for sloppy, half-hearted work will be a constant drain and make the teaching of every subject a headache for the entire family.
Contrarily, a home full of children, although imperfect, who understand what is expected and the consequences of trespassing on the rules and standards set forth by caring, loving parents, is a happy one indeed!

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