Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Spelling Out the Rules

Because the children have been moving like pond water the past several mornings and we have been just a bit later each day when leaving for school, and because, it pains me to say this, we have been terribly inconsistent with discipline, I've been developing a new system today. I know that kids need boundaries and consistent parenting. Unfortunately, since my kids are relatively good natured, we've become quite lax (and oftentimes downright lazy) in the discipline area, which inevitably leads to me being frustrated and ultimately angry and yelling to get the kids moving in the right direction. I realize that the kids are frustrated and angry, too, because we haven't had clear enough rules and boundaries. This, obviously does not work for anyone. It is imperative that we address this right now. We do not want to violate the principles of this scripture by not being consistent with our children: Ephesians 6:4 "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."

So, I've devised a list of house rules and consequences for breaking the rules. This will be hung on the wall next to the boys' staircase along with a traffic light picture and clothespin for each boy to be a visual of where he stands on following the rules each day. I'm really hoping that by having these things specifically spelled out and written down where we all can see them, not only will the children learn what we expect, but we will learn to be much more consistent.

The traffic light idea came from Monk's teacher. I got to take Boo and visit in his classroom yesterday and help them bake chocolate chip cookies. It was a lot of fun! Mrs. L. incorporated teaching the kids about measurements and fractions as we worked, too, so it was a learning experience as well. I've been amazed at the respect Monk has for this teacher, and after being in her room, I got a glimpse of why. She is very organized and has well-spelled out expectations for the students. I like that and I can use that at home. One reason I didn't enjoy working in a school setting way back when I was just starting out was that I had never learned how to earn the kids' respect, and they were smart enough to sense how incompetent I felt. So I am glad to use good ideas as I find them. I've always understood the fact that boundaries are needed, but now I'm finding ways to work them out practically.

O, Lord, teach us to be consistent in parenting these children. I want so much to model for them a life that is devoted to You, and to teach them Your ways. Help us not to be lazy in disciplining or in teaching them about You. It is only by Your grace that we will be the parents You have called us to be.

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