With the start 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. There are things in your parenting toolbox that are worn out and you should throw away. One of these tools 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 horrified of course, but did not remind him. Instead, when we got in the car we took the CDs 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 CDs back.
Giving your children consistent consequences really does hurt you 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 chore. 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 work 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 is a new year. Out with the old (reminders) and in with the new (consistent consequences). You might be surprised at the changes you will see! So, it is a new year. Out with the old (lectures and reminders) and in with the new (consequences). You might be surprised at the changes you will see in your children’s behavior!