A child throws a book. You ask them to pick it up and put it away nicely. Afterwards you discuss with them that it is okay to be frustrated but throwing things is not an appropriate way to communicate that. You may also add in some details about treating our things with respect and may have them ask for forgiveness if the book didn’t belong to them.
Teaching kids values such as respect and forgiveness isn’t easy and yes, it can be time consuming but in the end our kids learn and grow.
One of the biggest battles we have in our home is the process of consequences. The Difficult Mind is selfish. When he doesn’t ever consider his actions affecting those around him he also doesn’t care about consequences for those around him.
Additionally, the Difficult Mind is a concrete thinker, if option A isn’t available then we will take option B and if that won’t work then we will find an option C. This can go on endlessly. There are always options yet it is also overwhelming and creates anxiety for the Difficult Mind when there are too many option.
Overwhelmed yet? Yeah, me too.
So then, how do we go about education our child on how we act and how people are treated when he doesn’t respond? Find their trigger desire and work with it.
The rest of this is going to sound a whole lot like giving in and bargaining. I feel that way a lot but after being down this road for 5 years we have tried a lot of things, this is what is working for our son at this time, it could always change.
Our sons triggers are Video Game Time, Watching a Show, Legos and Star Wars. So basically depending on the day and his mood and his current particular interest we might be on the right track to the right consequence.
We are trying to achieve the following:
1. Give our son the chance to change his own behavior.
2. Remind him that rules are grace driven, not law driven.
3. Have a set guide for consequences.
4. Present rewards as an option for self control.
Each day we start with a clean slate. We give a direction, if our son follows we continue on, if he doesn’t he receives a warning, if after the warning he doesn’t follow through he receives a “strike”. If at the end of the day there are less than 3 strikes, our son is awarded with video game time or a show.
We enforce these rules by talking about the fruits of the spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self Control. If both we and are son are guided by this it gives us all a center to start from.
When this works, it works. When it doesn’t, I feel helpless.
This is not how I dreamed of parenting. I wanted to be able to teach and guide my child in a different way.
Life isn’t always how we want it. In seeing the world through someone else’s lens we find that we are capable of more mercy and compassion than we ever thought possible.
“Hope and Sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not.”
There’s Rescue: Right now as we try and teach boundaries and consequences we have a system that works most days.
There’s Not: When the system doesn’t work I feel hopeless, the inability to guide and direct a small child can be discouraging.
Today I’m thankful for change and the ability to learn self control.