I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Training My Children

Sometimes I think my expectations are a little high. I mean, my children are seven, six and five. Not exactly ready to be moving out and living on their own, but they're not babies either. There are some things they should be able to do on their own, and others that maybe are just a bit too hard for them.

I have been thinking a lot about certain discipline problems we've been facing, and I keep wondering if I've actually trained them to do the things I expect, or if I have just assumed they know how to do something because it's common sense to me.

For example: when you take a pony tail out of your hair, and some hair comes with it, you remove the hair, toss it out, then replace the pony tail into the container it belongs in. Right? Well, that almost never happens here, and as a result we find ponytails all over the house, tucked in the furniture, in the hallway, kitchen floor, all in various states of hairyness.

Now, the Prince and I complain to the girls and remind them to pick them up, but I wonder if I have ever taken the time to gather the girls together, pick up a pony tail from the floor, remove any and all hair stuck to it, thrown it in the garbage, put the pony tail into the proper container, and remind them that's what I expect every time they're done with one.

There are SO many more examples I could name.

Sometimes I need to remember that training isn't just spanking or disciplining when they haven't done what I asked, but taking the initiative to show them how to do it, letting them do it with me, having them do it while I watch them, and then allowing them to do it on their own.

Just like we do with spiritual discipleship. We take a new Christian, show them what the Word of God says about various topics (soul winning for example), let them watch us do it, take them out to do it with us, watch them do it on their own, and then send them out to keep on. We don't send out a baby Christian into the world and say "Go get 'em!", then discipline them or be angry when they've failed or been unsuccessful.

So, when I am frustrated with a certain behavior, I need to think of whether I have trained them properly to do the right thing, or if I have an unfair expectation. If they aren't complying with my expectation because I haven't properly trained them, then the fault is mine.

Training is so much more than discipline. I need to remember my children's ages, their limitations, and remember to TEACH them and TRAIN them to do that which I expect. Any thoughts?


  • Brenda

    We were talking about this yesterday...training is like the prevenative and discipline is what gets enacted when they disobey. Training should be the norm and discipline intermittent and only used when needed (disobeying when you are sure they knew what was expected). It's just that training takes time and effort--LOTS of time and effort. I was convicted recently by a mom who said she would get up and leave in the middle of a haircut if one of her children needed training at that moment. It very often means we must stop what we are doing and go attend to them and it's easy to not do that.
    About the pony tail holders--I need to think about things like this too. My sister and I were always sent to "clean our closets" and at the end of the day and much effort we got a spanking because they weren't clean. We had NO idea what our mom wanted and we never seemed to do it right. We told my mom that when we grew up and she felt bad--she thought we understood. Like you said, common sense and all.
    Hmm. I'll have to give some thought to that.

  • Mary

    I think Brenda just made an excellent and well balanced response. I too have been guilty of assuming my children have read my mind on how things need to be done. I guess we can only wait (to some degree) for the kids to let us know what they don't know. Give them the benefit of the doubt (that it is not laziness or rebellion or disregard) and take those opportunities to instruct.

    If it makes you feel any better I am fairly sure the pony tail thing is a universal hitch to child training. My daughters (20 and 23)still leave their ties around the place - it's never theirs - yet my hair is short? Some things are designed to drive us mad. Hang in there. It sounds like you are on the right path. Your girls are delightful and you are a caring mum.

  • JulieMom

    Thanks for your thoughts ladies!

    Brenda- I am afraid of doing to my kids what your mother did to you. I am consciously watching now for areas they need instruction in.

    Mary- Thanks! I am sure there are some things that are universal problems. (And the stuff is NEVER theirs, is it?) :0)

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