All summer long, our kids have been waking up fairly early in the morning, with the sun. They usually find something quiet to do. Often, they draw. My kids are serious artists. The other day, my husband and I came downstairs to see this on the kitchen table.
Funny how we like to have rules. Of course, as parents, it’s necessary to make rules. We’ve tried a number of different “systems” in our home, and a number of different parenting philosophies have influenced us. When my firstborn was very young, I read Shepherding a Child’s Heart. I liked the idea of being able to show your children from the Bible how to mold their behavior.
Later on, we struggled with just exactly how to discipline as we realized we had one child who seemed to thrive on negativity, and discipline appeared to have no effect. I searched everywhere I could and found a book entitled, Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach. I had avoided reading this book, not wanting to label my child, “difficult.” But when I was desperate, I focused instead on the idea of nurturing the heart.
The book taught me to recognize my child. To constantly “notice” everyday activities and make comments about them–not always praise–sometimes just saying something like “Look at that. You’re using a green crayon to color the house.” When the child misbehaves, he or she is to be sent for a time out, the idea being to remove them from where the “fun” is–where the action of the family is.
It’s incredibly difficult to do–to notice and praise, when your instinct is, “everything’s going well now–I’m not going to disturb things.”
While we still use many of these principles, we’ve finally arrived at something that works really well for our family: the If/Then Chart from Doorposts.
As with any “system” you’d choose to use with your family, consistency is the key to success. But this is simple, with not too many rules, it’s biblical, and kids can clearly see and understand what the consequences of their behavior are. Even the smallest ones.
Have you adopted a system of discipline for your family? How does it work?