Did you know that no one else can control you?
You, and only you have the ability to control yourself. Sure people can threaten or coerce you into doing things but even then you are the one choosing to do as they say.
Did you know that you can’t control other people either?
Not even your children.
Maybe you can control them for a season but the thing is, these kids have minds and hearts of their own and even if you succeed in controlling them when they are small, you will lose that control once they are older.
Sounds like you’re destined to fail at this parenting thing doesn’t it?
That’s not what I’m trying to say though, because it is possible to hold the hearts of your children and through that, you have the power to teach and guide them.
However, you will never punish your kids into submission, it simply doesn’t work. Trust me on this, you don’t actually want it to work.
Punishment brings almost immediate results, but it also creates an environment where your child doesn’t really care about his sin…
His biggest fear is that he will get caught.
Therefore he doesn’t care to commit the sin as long as his parents aren’t present or don’t know about it.
There is a better way though.
Are you ready for this?
What if we don’t punish our kids?
What if we talk to them instead? What if we let them know that we get it because we were kids once to and this was hard for us too.
I’m not sure how to explain this better but here’s an example.
Kenzie has a really hard time talking to adults. They talk to her and she will either look away or she will stare at them as if they completely lost their senses by thinking they have a right to talk to her.
If someone hands her a lollipop and I prompt her to say thank you, she rarely does.
Can you guess what my biggest challenge is with this senerio?
It’s not the fact that my child is being disrespectful.
It’s the fact that my disrespectful child makes me look like a bad parent.
Which would be called fear.
I am afraid that my child’s actions make me look like a bad parent, so I am going to train my child to act in ways that I think are appropriate.
Did you know that is not effective or Godly parenting?
Because like I said before, you cannot control your child. Your child has a brain and a heart and a soul that was put there by God himself and you will not change that nor do you have permission too.
Most of us are familiar with Proverbs 22:6…
Train up a child in the way he shall go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Do you know how many people interpret that verse?
It is often interpreted as:
I must train up my child in the way I think he should go….
But is that really what it says?
It doesn’t. It says ‘in the way he should go.’
So how should he go?
Think about it.
This is my child but he belongs to God first, so who should be deciding his destiny.
So maybe God is the one who knows ‘how he should go.’
So maybe we should be asking God how to teach this child and maybe we should embrace each child for who God has created them to be, maybe we should be raising each individual child differently! (Yes, we need to treat each child equal to their siblings but each child will interpret you actions differently… Ok so that alone could be a whole other blog so just take my word for it, or don’t! Research it!)
Let’s rewind back to my Kenzie story.
You see, I get it because I was the little girl once who didn’t like talking to adults because honestly I thought adults were kinda weird, first of all they always asked my name and then they asked my age, I mean duh, they didn’t ask my mom her age.
Another common question was ‘Do you want candy?’ and they would ask it with this grin, like they just knew I wanted a piece of their candy which was kinda dumb because they had no clue if I like candy or not! What an assumption to make about me! 🙂
So for awhile I did tell Kenzie if she didn’t talk to people she would get punished but then I realized that I wasn’t so much punishing her for misdeeds as I was to shield my pride.
That is awful guys, it is not a good parenting strategy.
So, I started simply encouraging her to talk to people and I tried to explain that it’s the right thing to and it’s impolite not to and… well, you get the point.
Sometimes I wondered if I was failing as a parent because my four year old doesn’t talk to people and that’s just kinda pathetic but I also knew that the reason it bothers me so much is because…. “what are people going to think of my parenting?”
Well, here’s the thing: It only took about 2 years and my daughter has started talking to people. She still doesn’t always but its definitely getting better and here’s the good part…
She did it on her own.
Yes, we encouraged her but we didn’t punish her, so she didn’t start talking to avoid the punishment, she did it because after two years I think she is finally convinced that it might be the respectful thing to do, and since she wasn’t forced into it, I think it’s safe to say that is something that she will keep doing and not something that she practices only when she’s in our presence because she’s trying to avoid punishment.
Did you follow all that? 🙂
I find it a little hard to explain the difference between punishment and discipline but there is a difference. Punishment has faster results but basically just brings the body into submission while discipline has slower results but actually changes the heart.
Anyway… I didn’t even really get around to the control part of this blog so if you’re interested keep checking back, I might do a part two of this….
(Also… I do believe there is a time and place for punishment, but I also believe it is overused and often simply to keep the physical body in line without actually teaching our kids on a heart level.)