Today’s guest post is from Carla Link. Carla and her husband, Joey have served with an international parenting ministry for over 20 years. Joey is a pastor and Carla’s degree is in social work. Joey and Carla have written a book that has just been published titled, Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave? It is available at amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and www.momsnotes.com.
At the beginning of a new year, people are often ready for new beginnings. One of the problems with a New Year’s resolution or a new beginning is we start with a grand vision but don’t always have a practical plan to put it into practice, and if we don’t, we aren’t consistent in implementing it. This is often the case when it comes to parenting. You want your kids to behave, but do you have a plan how to accomplish this?
You have a parenting toolbox full of things you use every day with your kids. I recently cleaned out my sewing box and threw things away that were worn out and no longer usable. In the same way, there are things in your parenting toolbox that are worn out and you should throw away.
One parenting tool to throw out the window is reminding. When you remind your kids to do something, you are doing their thinking for them. They don’t have to remember what they are supposed to be doing because you have trained them to wait for your reminder. We were guilty of this in our parenting. The day came when we decided to stop reminding.
When our son was in Middle School, a friend of ours gave him several new CDs of his favorite music groups. He was so excited to look them over he didn’t say ‘Thank you.’ We were disappointed of course, but did not remind him. Instead, when we got in the car we took the CD’s away. When he asked us why, we told him to think about why we thought he didn’t deserve them. It took him most of the day to realize he had not shown gratefulness for this unexpected gift. Once he wrote a thank you note and put it in the mail, he got his CD’s back.
Giving our children consistent consequences really does hurt us more than it hurts them, but if you want to see changes in your child’s behavior, it is the way to go. Throughout the entire Bible, God clearly shows consequences are the effect of disobedience. Your child doesn’t do his chores? He loses the freedom of what he was doing instead of the chores. You teen doesn’t get ready for school on time? When he gets enough tardies, he will get detention. If you don’t stop bailing your kids out with reminders, who is going to do if for them when they get to college?
Replace reminders with encouragement. When you see your child ‘remembering’ to get his stuff done on his own, give him a word of encouragement. Noticing when your child is doing something right in God’s eyes is the best motivation for him to change his behavior. It’s just six weeks into the new year. Out with the old (reminders) and in with the new (consistent consequences) is a good strategy to put in place. You might be surprised at the changes you will see!