Raising children is a bit like one of my favorite student’s photographs (above), it seems like we are out of control. It was very difficult for her to control the substance in order to capture it with the camera creating this powerful image. Capturing our children’s hearts, minds and wills is very much the same. What a puzzle. We want to train them to control themselves, yet we have difficulty controlling ourselves. Who taught us to control ourselves… Our parents?
So how does it work best? By using these 4 tools:
1. Consistency: With a consistent, firm, loving, NO! Make certain you really try to pause before responding and mean that “no” when you weld it.
2. Consequences: With consequences, both positive and negative that make sense; that are reasonable for all parties concerned. Parental agreement will add power to the consequences. Children should see that the parents are in sync in order for the consequences to have the most effective results.
4. Choices: By giving limited choices children feel they have power. (Example, rather than “Put on your jacket.” you ask, “Which jacket would you like to wear?”) Help children develop an Inner Locus of Control.
Remember the bad dog, Gracie from earlier blog posts?
Well, she is still bad.
Why? because we have lousy follow through and do not consistently train her to be the pet we want for her to be.
Training children to have the characteristics you want them to be equipped with as adults is so important. Talking to your children, starting at 18 months old and consistently talking to them into their teens and beyond, about them BECOMING the people they want to be is vital for character building. Train your children to think of themselves consciously becoming a person.
Of course be in constant prayer for further ways to train the children to be responsible, interdependent, strong, courageous, kind, people! God knows how to do this and He is great to use His word, the Bible, to further train you better how to do it.
Remember, people develop as a mixture of nature and nurture. It is vital that parents control what they can, while they can. So, control THIS! whatever is vital- For you only have a moment.