My husband and I both believe that our kids will push their boundaries not because they are malicious, but because it’s in our nature as human beings to want our way. Our jobs as parents is to show our kids that they have the ability to learn how to control their emotions and therefore their behavior by CHOOSING to obey or disobey the rules. By doing so, they begin to learn that they are not a byproduct of their emotional whims. When they choose to obey the relationship is harmonious. When they choose to disobey the relationship is strained. Either way, we do our best to communicate that we love them no matter what they choose but that every choice has a consequence. Consequences can be positive or negative. The choice is up to them. That being said,
We do not use the word “bad” in our home.
We decided as parents that we didn’t want our kids to experience the shame we felt when we behaved “bad”. We wanted our kids to understand how to logically prevent or correct any “bad” behavior instead of being confused or labeled by it. We refer to their behavior as being disobedient or obedient. When we leave the kids with my parents, we tell the kids to obey the rules instead of to behave “good”. Because we’ve practice this system they know what the rules are.
They also don’t feel personally attacked when they are disciplined.
Anyone watching them can apply the discipline system.
We do our best to use a loving yet firm tone when we discipline.
We do our best to NEVER apply the consequence in anger. We’ve found that the reason we become angry is when we are too lenient and we let the behavior go for too long before we apply any consequence.
We always make-up and remind them how much we love them.
At first, it feels really strange to do this but now that my oldest is 3.5 years old I am so thankful we started as early as possible. My oldest has always had a strong will. If left alone she’d get her way every time. But now after one warning she understands that with a lot of love and firmness we don’t hesitate to implement the consequence.
We constantly tell her in love that she cannot control us. We tell her that we get to decide what we want to choose because we have our own free will. We remind her that it’s ok to feel anger. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, she tells me at this age “Mom, I’m still angry.” and I respond, “I know baby, I understand how you feel just remember you’re not allowed to break any of the rules just be cause you feel angry.”
I love that she has the ability to still feel her emotions. I love that she’s learning how to identify each one correctly. I love that she is learning that she can learn to control her emotions, her actions, and therefore her consequence by choosing to be obedient or not. The choice is always up to her. We can steer her in the right direction which we pray will change the selfish condition of her heart or we can let her run the show and destroy her life. I know this sounds drastic, but it’s true.
I almost destroyed my life because I didn’t know better. I believed my emotions to be true and real. I was at the mercy of how I felt at any given time. I made rash decisions based on those emotions.
I didn’t want my kids to deal with the consequences of not having emotional intelligence the way I did. So while for some this might seem really harsh, rigid, or too strict we believe we our doing our kids a favor in helping them learn how to manage their emotions from an early age. We believe this will save them a lot of heartache. We believe this will help them figure out what their calling in life is a lot quicker too.
This is why the work required to implement this system is not hard for us. We believe it’s harder to live life believing people should do things our way. We believe that what kids learn when they are young is what they do when they are adults. I believe it’s our job to teach our kids that the world does not revolve around our wants, desires, and emotional whims. It’s our job to train their brains how to be emotionally intelligent.
Below is a list of the Home and God rules we all follow. In fact, we tell our oldest that if we break a rule she’s allowed to put us in time out. We find that the best way of showing them what’s expected is to model it. That’s honestly the best way. The discipline procedure is what it looks like when our kids break a rule. It’s our step-by-step method to ensure we are consistent and on the same page. Our kids know that daddy follows the same rules as mom. We’re a unified front and we love being able to refer to the rules when were tempted to discipline in anger. It also keeps us in check.
Anyways, I hope that by sharing this I help at least ONE woman fight the exhaustion that lack of discipline can cause.
Much love, DeeDee