Monday, March 29, 2010
Raising Abel, part 1
I have received several emails all asking similar questions of me; all hoping for me to share our take on child discipline and how we approach it. For weeks (and in some cases, months) you have been waiting for an answer. (Sorry all of you patient people~you know who you are…) All questions were geared toward different aspects of discipline so within this subject, I hope to address all of the specific areas you wanted to know about. (If I don't, let me know!)
It has taken me this long to broach the subject simply because it takes a very sensitive person to do so in a way that is not demeaning on the one hand or prideful. Basically, I didn’t want to put myself on the “my way or the highway” pedestal and I certainly didn’t want to appear as though my children behave immaculately all the time. They don’t. I also didn’t want to appear as though I have all my cards in order…I don’t. I am still learning day by day. We fail, often miserably, in our quest for true obedience to God, my family and I. Don’t think that because I am writing this series on discipline that I am in anyway excluding myself from learning from it right along with my readers.
Some people think we are far too strict with our children. Some people think we are too lax. (Never can please everyone, can you?) And sometimes, regardless of EVERYTHING, the children exercise their sin-factor at the most inopportune times. Overall though, we are happy with our increasingly-well-disciplined children and confident that we are pleasing the Lord by having Godly discipline in our home. So, ya know, His opinion is the one that matters!
What I write about here is not exactly seasoned advice, at least not coming from MY lips~ but rather what WE do, why it works for us and how we came about to do it. I will say though, that our structure for discipline in the home is gleaned from a VERY seasoned source, the Bible. Relatively speaking, I am at the beginning of the parenting journey. (Although I will say, I likely have tremendously MORE experience than those specialists-with no children- who give us advice from parenting magazines…)
No, not-quite seven years on this parenting road is not exactly cross-country in the grand scheme of things…I have not yet had teenagers, I haven’t had the privilege of holding grandbabies, I haven’t even gotten into puberty yet. (Thank goodness.) I am under the opinion, however, that the formative years are the most important for setting up groundwork for an entire lifetime. You can really make or break your child in these early years. You can have it relatively easy or make the coming years VERY hard on yourself, all contingent upon how obedient you are as parents in these early years.
I have a six year old, three year old, and a one year old. And I am pregnant---and that fact doesn’t worry me. I am not overwhelmed. I am not fearful of adding “another” to the clutch. I never feel like pulling my hair out (well, VERY rarely). I think that whole “terrible two’s” bit is a crock and I do not expect or live in fear for those coming “rebellious” teenage years. I think those things alone say an awful lot about “how we are doing”. So take my advice or leave it, but in and among the advice I share are references to places that I ask you NOT to overlook~ Scripture. It is amazing how aptly covered this topic is in the Bible and how accessible, if you are willing.
I am putting myself out there (here, actually), because I am passionate about what I see pervading families-even among the Church. It is disheartening to see the fruits of our neglect (or, in some cases, ignorance) of godly parenting. My hope is primarily to answer the questions and offer support and encouragement to those who were curious about “our way”. I may be young myself, but I can certainly be considered an “older woman” to some. If these posts serve any other purpose for any of those other individuals (young or old) that just happen to read it, then to God be the glory.
I am wordy about all sorts of things~ from silly things like birthdays to soapbox-worthy discussions (it’s my nature) so I will be breaking this topic up into a few posts.
Here ends incredibly wordy (see? told ya!) disclaimer.
Discipline looks different in every home because people are different in every home. I would hope, however, that a lovely golden thread of consistency is woven into the tapestries of Christian homes. After all, we have a Guidebook that says an awful lot on the subject of child discipline. Unfortunately, the Christian homes of the day are ever looking similar to our worldly counterparts, and the differences are slowly becoming obsolete.
I know I am likely not going to make any friends with this series on discipline. In fact, unfortunately, what I write is going to illicit a lot of squirming and likely, hate-mail. (I HATE hate-mail.) But again, somewhere along the line we have lost touch with reality. We think it is normal for our kids to walk the OTHER direction when we call their names, to outright refuse with a vehement “NO!” our requests, to get mouthy with us when we ask them to change their inappropriate clothes or to raise a bunch of little liars. We think it is a fact of life to have rebellious teenagers and to be treated with rolling eyes and back talking mouths. The truth needs to be said, no matter how painful it is to hear.
Let me be clear…these things are NOT normal. What’s worse?!
They are OUR fault.
More to come another day...
PS. Any questions in the comments from these posts will be answered directly in a question post at the end of the series. Feel free to leave them, though I can't promise I will know the answer! :-)