I have so many free printables for you today! I’m gearing up for summertime at home with three kids very close in age. I’m being proactive about the inevitable bickering, lots of time together and the dreaded “I’m bored.” I want to talk about a few things that are changing the way we are disciplining, and then share my behavior and clip chart, consequence jar and bored jar!
I’d like to tell you briefly about a parenting class Marcello and I have been taking at church. It is taught by one our pastors and his wife. (Thanks, Josh and Maggie!) It’s been fantastic and I learned several things that I have not been incorporating or doing a poor job with. Below is not even close to all the information that was given, just a few highlights.
Good parenting goals gone wrong
The first thing they did was point out some good parenting goals gone wrong. We all tend to pick an emphasis in one of these areas. Does one stand out to you?
- sport or special skill
- health or appearance
- good behavior
- family worship or coming to faith early
This is a whole post in itself, but which of these things do you consider most important? Which one would your child say you focus on?
Mine is behavior. I tend to think that as long as my children are well behaved, all is well. But that is not the goal of parenting! Josh underlined something I hadn’t thought of. The goal of parenting is for the child to be in awe of God.
The goal of parenting is not to produce a Yale graduate, a concert pianist, a pro football player, a Golden Globe winner or well-mannered adult who will take care of his parents. The goal of parenting is for the child to be in awe of God — a God who they know loves them and who they want to honor with their actions.
*** “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” — Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ***
So all the time I spend forcing my children to behave I’m missing that their behavior is an issue of their heart. I’m attempting to address each of their outbursts, but not address their heart. All actions are a result of what is in the heart. That’s why a lot of the consequences in my jar below focus on being kind and grateful.
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
8 steps of Biblical discipline
These are Josh and Maggie’s steps to discipline. I’m so grateful that they are allowing me to share them with you! I have literally taken their handout with me as I head into my son’s room to talk about his behavior. You can do it without yelling, threatening and explosive behavior from both sides. Sometimes we sin ourselves during discipline! There is a better way.
The jaw-dropping fact is that our child’s first impression of God will be through their parents. If a child’s father is cold and legalistic, that will be the child’s first idea of what the heavenly father is like. If a mother is aloof and doesn’t seem to care about behavior maybe God doesn’t either. No pressure, right?!
That is why we need to be both stern and loving. I’m going to give you Josh and Maggie’s 8 steps, which are truly changing things around here!
1. Be consistent in your discipline. They need to know the standards and consequences for not following them. The child needs to know why they are being punished.
2. Always put the discipline in the context of love. God disciplines us because he loves us (Hebrews 12) and we do the same for our children. Recently, when I had one child disobey and then lie about it, I had the opportunity to explain why he wasn’t going to get out of a consequence. Because I love him, I don’t want him to think not respecting authority and lying don’t have consequences. If I don’t teach him this when he is a child, what will happen when he cheats and lies on a test in college? He will be expelled. What will happen if he denies authority and lies at work as an adult? He will be fired. Real life has consequences and I want to explain that and teach him that because I love him.
3. Reference the Bible. Explain to your child what the Bible says about the issue. You could say “God says that children should obey their parents and you were not obedient to your mom. That is why you are being punished.” This allows them to see that their offense is not just against you, but more importantly it is against God.
4. Make sure it is a real punishment. If they don’t care they are being disciplined, their conduct will not change.
5. Hold your children until the have stopped crying. This is not the time for the cold shoulder. Crying means they have regret and you should not deny affection. Thank our Lord, he holds us and forgives us when we come to him broken. We need to do the same for our kids.
6. Use discipline to rehearse the Gospel. I personally have sadly overlooked this step. We are all sinners, unable to live a perfect life as Jesus did. We can ask our child “Who was the only person who never sinned?” Jesus! And we are so grateful to him for dying on the cross for our sin and giving us the Holy Spirit who can help us to resist it! God gives us grace and forgives us when we ask him.
7. Ask them verbally to confess their sin. After they have confessed their wrongdoing, the child should ask forgiveness and be forgiven. If the child will not confess or ask forgiveness, they will need to be disciplined again.
8. Pray with and for your child. This is a great way to end the conversation and remind each of you of God’s goodness and faithfulness.
This set of guidelines have been so very helpful to me and I hope they are to you too!
I would like to point out that Josh and Maggie have not even seen or approved my printables below! So view these as a separate notation of discipline, ok? We all have different parenting styles and different children, so no households will look the same.
My boys (16 months apart) usually get along great, so I’m not sure what’s going on with the bickering lately. The only thing I have any confidence in my parenting so far is focusing on the kids being kind to one another. I used this kindness chart for quite awhile and it really fulfilled its purpose, but I think we need to shake things up a bit.
We literally started using this chart yesterday and it has already been an adjustment. It made me see how much the kids were getting away with. We were throwing out empty threats or random punishments. It felt so nice to have a system in order! I hope this continues to work for awhile.
I did something similar to the way Luca’s teacher does it, but I added an extra spot at the top because a lot of kids respond so well to positive encouragement instead of negative.
So here’s how it works:
- I start at “great” at the beginning of the day.
- If the child is kind and helpful, he or she can be moved up to “extraordinary.” I wanted to include a special reward, not only negative consequences.
- When the child stays on “great” for the day, he or she gets a sticker for the chart. When the 10 spots are filled, there is a reward. If a child ends the day on “extraordinary” the child gets two stickers for the chart.
- Time out is normally suggesting one minute per year of age.
- A consequence can be pulled from the jar below.
- You can add points back for good behavior as you see fit.
You can use the consequence jar with or without the behavior chart above. Just take away what works for you and mix and match as you see fit. As I mentioned before, lot of the consequences focus on love and kindness. If the action of the child is serious, you might want to skip the consequence jar and address it differently.
The idea is that the child picks at random (no peeking!) and has to do it. No re-draws. Some are chores, some are to evoke kindness, a few are a little silly. A get out of jail free card is in the mix too.
For right now, I’m giving one sticker if the child ends on “great” with the behavior chart and two for “extraordinary.” Once the child gets 10 stickers, he or she gets a reward! This sticker chart is part of my Ultimate Kids Planner.
Rewards that are not toys:
Once the sticker chart is filled, I think I am going to focus on a thing to do rather than a toy. Here are some choices I am going to offer. Please give me your non-toy reward ideas too!
- go for an ice cream cone
- bake a cake with mom
- park date without siblings
- stay up 30 minutes past bedtime
- your choice of family game and dinner
Sometimes summer can be summed up by “I’m hungry” and “I’m bored.” I used to make the kids do a chore every time they said they were bored, but now I’m going to give this bored jar a try! The idea is if they say it, they have to pick at random and actually do it! No picking through until they find something else. If they didn’t say the dreaded words, they can poke through for ideas. What do you do when your kids say they are bored?
Fruit of the spirit
In an effort to address the matters of my kids’ hearts instead of just their behavior, we have been talking about the fruit of the spirit. I’m including the graphics that I made and laminated.
I have been asking how many they can name, letting them hold them and try to read them. I also want to somehow make a tree that they can put them on. I know there are a lot of directions we could take on this. Ideas are more than welcome!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Great parenting books
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp
- Parenting, by Paul David Tripp
- “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know,” by Meg Meeker
Click to download the high-resolution files.
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