One thing my husband struggle greatly with is consistency in disciplining our children. Sadly, so much of how harshly or not harshly we discipline depends almost more upon on patience level than the incident. We do try to hold to a few certain things that we spank for, but we’ve noticed lately that we are seeing many of the same behaviors happening over and again and the ways we have been disciplining just aren’t working to make any kind of heart change.
I’ve been doing some research and after seeing a couple of different versions of these charts out in the wide web world, we decided to come up with one for our house. These are our top behavior issues that we are needing to see a true heart change with. The first column is a description of the behavior with a picture, the middle column is question prompt for us or them about their behavior (almost to use as a warning sort of thing) and also scripture that goes along with that behavior/attitude and then the last column is the consequence. While don’t want to become rigid to these consequences, having a place where the kids can go and see and know what is going to happen to them if they don’t change their behavior should help…we hope!
A word about our consequences: we only use isolation for a few incidences. Primarily that is because for our son, it is more of a reward. He has a very, very hard time accepting his actions and the consequences of those and sending him to his room lets him wallow in his sin (which isn’t all a bad thing), but it doesn’t do much to prompt a good heart change. The blank for minutes is because our kids are two very different ages (7 and 4) and also because I think there are times when they might just need a good 15 minute cool down and other times when it might need to be much longer than that.
The Service Jar is something I’m still working on. It will be filled with 2 difference colored slips of paper, color coded for each child. These are things like scrubbing the bathtub, scrubbing the cabinets, doing a siblings chore, cleaning up a siblings room, washing windows etc. We’ve never done anything like this before, so we don’t know how it’s going to play out. Right now, my son thinks it’s kind of cool…little does he know that when I ask him to clean the baseboards, I mean spotless. Like scrub for 10 minutes until the timer goes off. I read in Wild Things that boys need a consequence that involves action…we’ll see how this goes!
We choose to only spank for two major things: defiance/disobedience and unkind speech. Both my children have loose tongues and don’t use their speech wisely. We have been working all fall on using words that are “sweet like honey, not sour like vinegar” and using “asking words” instead of “telling words”. While we are starting to see some self-control, we’ve got a looooooong way to go! That is probably our biggest area of prayer for our children; that the Lord would teach them how to use their words for encouragement and kindness.
We are also hoping to start a Blessing Jar also. A jar of special activities or “rewards” for the child that is going above and beyond in handling a situation, helping a family member or persevering through a trial. Those things that are beyond what is generally expected of them.
If you would like a copy of our chart, click here!
I used the following resources to make our chart: Wise Words for Moms, For Instruction in Righteousness, and some other websites that I can’t seem to find the links for anymore. If you type “if/then charts” in google, it takes you to a host of good resources of people who have much similar charts. You can buy ones already made up from Doorposts, but I wanted to customize ours for our house.