We’re in the midst of re-training our children to behave in respectful ways. I am firmly convinced that this needs to be done several times a year, but only because we parents tend to get lazy! We are so gung-ho about teaching our kids to answer respectfully, obey immediately, and learn self-control…at least for a while. Then the kids are behaving “pretty well” and we coast along for a month or two. The next thing you know, you find yourself asking a child to do something, then repeating yourself, then calling out, “did you hear me?”, then yelling, and finally they come running. Hmmm…Greg and I have realized that this isn’t the fault of the kids, but our own fault for letting it get to that point.
I’m thankful that the intense parenting of the 18 month-4 year old period is over. Our kids are generally well behaved. But that doesn’t mean we are done training! I’m picking the parenting books back up again and retraining myself in not being a lazy parent, but doing the hard work to remain consistent and to not let things slide when they shouldn’t. We’re mostly through the tantrums and outright defiance (although those do rear their ugly heads now and then), but now we’re getting into dealing with attitudes and respect in a deeper way.
Even after putting my nose back to the grindstone for just a few days, I already see the benefits. When kids know their boundaries and show respect to their parents and siblings, the whole house is a more peaceful and pleasant place to be. There’s nothing better than eavesdropping on your children as they play, like I did tonight as I sat here at the computer. I practiced my parenting skills when they came to tattle. (Do you want me to come out there and solve your problem? Because I’d be happy to do that, but you might not be happy with how I decide to solve it. Or would you rather figure it out between yourselves?) But mostly I just listened to their imaginative play as they talked about their Legos getting into all kinds of interesting situations and getting out of them again. How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
Here are some of my favorite books that I turn back to time and time again:
Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
Parenting with Love & Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay
Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years by Jim Fay & Charles Fay
Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School by David & Kelli Pritchard
their blog is also a great resource now: Pritchard Ministries
Dare to Discipline by James Dobson
Now I’m off to parent some more, although it’s 8:45 in the evening. I hear Tyler, our resident night owl, emerging yet again from his room to “ask me another question.”