parenting "not so fun"

Boot Camp

8:04 AMHeather

Once upon a time, there were three children. They had a wonderful mother who never lost her temper, never yelled, and always responded gently to them. She kept the house spotless, greeted her husband nightly with love and support, had a nutritious and healthy meal on the table every night, and planned fun and educational outings for her family. Her children always obeyed the first time, treated each other with kindness and respect, and constantly asked how they could help the house run more smoothly.

Yeah. I don't believe in fairy tales anymore either. Sigh. I did marry my Prince Charming, and we are living happily ever after. We are even quite grateful for these three little miracles God gave us. But, our daily life often spirals downward. At this point, I have enough training in negotiating peace that I should be sent to the Middle East. I usually greet Chris with a grunt, as I've lost the ability to form complete sentences after surviving the "witching hour" that comes at the end of the day. Nutritious and healthy meals? Yep--I've lowered my standards. That pediatrician never should have told me not to worry--daily vitamins will supplement poor eating habits (oh--if I only remembered to GIVE the vitamins daily).

So, here we are. In the midst of another rough spot. Time for Mommy Boot Camp because SOMETHINGS gotta give.

Here's my plan (I'll have to get back to you to see if it works). First of all--if I have to say no one more time, my head will explode. My kids' heads will, too. Need some positive reinforcement. SO, we're going back to our old ticket system. This is a way to reward to the kids when we "catch them" making good choices. They earn those little paper tickets (Mardel's has them). They each have a little box, and they work with us to create the rewards. We have a poster, and after we determine the value of each ticket, we create a list of rewards they hope to earn by cashing in the appropriate number of tickets.

We've done this in the past, and it's worked nicely. In my mothering experience, I need to stay a step ahead because the novelty wears off. So, it went by the wayside after our move last year. Time to pull it back out. As the kids are more mature, we have added another element. I bought a laminated posted with great visuals about the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It includes great definitions of each fruit. We are using this as a springboard to point out God honoring behaviors--making it clear that when they ask, God will naturally enable these fruits to grow.

The "yin" of this positive reward "yang" is a great idea I got from a parenting website. We are creating an "If, THEN" chart with our kids. On a poster board, we will list the most frequently occurring offenses (ignoring commands, arguing, speaking disrespectfully, etc). We will list those under the "IF" column. A corresponding "THEN" consequence will be listed. This will help take the emotion out of disciplining, allowing me to stay calm, as I simply point to the chart.

If this doesn't help, I'm wondering how much Michelle Duggar charges for a house call? I mean--those 18 kids are awfully well behaved and respectful. God bless them--my kids are amazing, but foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, and I need some new tools to train them in the way they should go.

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