Window: Ages 2 - 5 = Discipline
My favorite season of parenting was ages 8 - 12. In parenting you are given definite "windows" to instill into your kids. Age 1 - 5 is the "window" of establishing discipline. A disciplined child = a child with a good self-esteem. If you do that job well, life is much easier than if you miss that window.
Window: Ages 8 - 12 = Training
At age 8 - 9 a child's brain develops to the point of being able to think abstractly. What that means is that they are able to comprehend spiritual concepts. It is this "window" of time that your majority of training will take place. It's after the baby stage and before the teen stage. It was this season of life that I drilled wisdom into my kids. This is how I did that. Again, it takes being intentional.
1. Video Games = sound effects turned OFF, and teaching tape on LOUDLY!!
I hate wasting anything. I hate wasting, money, I hate wasting food, but I especially hate wasting TIME. My time and energy are my most valued commodities. When the kids were ages 8 - 12, they started getting interested in video games. The only way I could justify them playing video games was if they played with the sound effects turned OFF and a teaching tape playing in the background. I'm fully convinced that this policy is a key factor to the success they are experiencing today. They listened to so many tape series they had them memorized. They listened to Pastor John's sermons any time they played video games.
2. Family Devotions: AKA "Nugget Night"
Every Friday night we had "Nugget Night" which was family devotions. We named it "Nugget Night" because of the nuggets of truth we would discover in God's Word. We would all gather in the living room, everyone with their workbooks and pens and we would listen to series on "The Armor of God", " The Holy Spirit", or "Teenagers". We would fill out our discussion questions and do a round table discussion on what we learned. The kids loved "Nugget Night", because we always ordered pizza and ate ice cream after our Bible study time. They would also invite their friends in the neighborhood to come to "Nugget Night", so it was a great evangelism outreach.
3. Discipline = Training
Another thing that changes dramatically during this stage of life is your style of discipline. You use misbehavior as an opportunity for training. By this time your child is too big to spank, so you need to change your parenting strategy when it comes to how you correct your child's behavior. This strategy replaced the "Swat Chart" on my punishment board when my kids got older. Though it was a new strategy, it still enabled Tim and I to "always have a punishment in our back pocket."
Negative Reinforcements for ages 9-12:
1. Wash Dog
2. Sweep Porch
3. Don’t go to CHAT (Our home school support group)
4. Clean Mirrors
5. Do dishes
6. Write Chapters of the Bible
7. Write 100 times: "I will not be a “Beamer” based on Matthew 7:1-5. ("Beamer" = Focusing on the faults of others.)
8. Write Matthew 7:1-5
9. Memorize Matthew 7:1-5
10. Write: “I will be kind to my brother” 100 times.
11. Write: “I will be kind to my kids.” Note: This was for me, if I did not hold up our family's "kindness" policy. (Yes they could punish me as well. More on this later.)
12. Memorize Proverbs 3
13. Write an essay on punishments
14. Write: “I will not stir up strife or anger."
16. Pay money
17. No Telephone
18. No TV
19. No Computer
20. Raking pine straw up into the pine islands
I know when you are struggling just to keep your head above water, get dinner on the table and the kids to hockey practice, it might be hard to keep in mind the big picture. But it is vital to keep in mind what you are aiming for.
Tomorrow I will cover my parenting strategies for the teen years.
Cheering you on!!