Monday, January 30, 2012

Struggling with Obedience

"You're not listening!" I shouted for the millionth time that day.

"But, Mommy!" she whined, sticking out her lower lip.

"I told you to clean up your toys. If you can't take care of them, I'll find another little girl who will appreciate them."

She crosses her arms, big tears welling up in her eyes before she stomps over to the pile of toys strewn around the room.

Great parenting form, Ralene. You're letting them get to you. Remember, don't raise your voice, get down on their level, tell them what's expected.

I'm sure that little scene is pretty common among families with kids, still sometimes I wonder if my kids are the only ones who seem to be out of control.

It didn't used to be this bad--just the last couple of months. The girls (5 and 4) are bundles of energy, and sometimes getting them to focus for more than a couple of minutes is like trying to catch a fly--buzzing from one thing to the next. Other times, they are so focused on whatever they're doing that they ignore me completely. It's frustrating.

My husband has also noticed the change--and is just as irritated as I am.

If I take the time to reflect on what might be causing it, I'm sure the number one issue is consistency. I know that we are not near as consistent as we should be. My husband has his health issues and works all day, I have my own issues as well and work at home on top of housework and homeschool. Sometimes I wonder if I'm maybe doing too much, if they need more of me. Am I inadvertantly causing this? Between those two things, I'm sure I definitely had a hand in it. After all, it's a parent's job to "train up" their children.

I haven't really made any changes as of yet, because I've been at a loss of what to do. I've taken up watching Supernanny and reading some books. I didn't know there were so many different views on child-rearing. I mean, I did know, but when you're looking for an answer, too many views leaves you no wiser than before--just more confused.

So, I've been doing some thinking and I've come up with a game plan. Would you like to know what it is? I thought so.

1. PRAYER: As with any problem in life, God is with me, with us. I can reach out for Him and ask for patience, for wisdom--I can even pray for my children to realize the error of their ways. A closer walk with God can only produce better fruit--though it still may take time.

2. CONSISTENCY: With my New Year's Resolutions, I created a schedule for our family. Whether I am working, schooling, cleaning, or playing with the kids, I need to realize what comes first. Those children learn as much by example as my saying so, probably more. I also need to make sure that my yes is yes and my no is no, no matter what I'm doing. I can't expect Kyra to quit carrying Connor around if I ask her to go get him when he wakes up from his nap and I'm in the middle of something. It sends her mixed signals.

3. TRAINING: Some of it is a lack of training. They can only be obedient when they know what to expect. Although we communicate rules to them, very rarely do we sit to discuss them, except, of course, when they're broken.

In hopes of helping with general behavior (especially obedience), I recently ordered a kit from We Choose Virtues to add to our homeschool curriculum. If you haven't heard of them before, check out their website. Most of the curriculum revolves around three main rules: Be Obedient, Be Kind, Be Helpful. Each one is fleshed out in the lessons.

I know my children are still learning, and they are only human (and, thankfully, so am I!). It is my job to train them up in a proper manner. I want them to be themselves, to fly to the heights they are capable of--and I want them to listen when I ask them to pick up their toys.

What about you? Do you struggle with obedience? Any suggestions/advice?

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