Listen to advice and accept correction, and in the end you will be wise.Proverbs 19:20
Today I want to talk about correcting your kids but it’s not what you think. This post isn’t going to tell you how you should or shouldn’t discipline your kids because I don’t want to tell you how you should or shouldn’t discipline your kid. I will be writing in the notion that you understand the difference between correction/discipline and abuse. In addition, we as parents need to give ourselves grace and patients as we learn how to teach our kids. We aren’t going to get it right every time and that’s okay. We as parents know that kids are constantly learning, exploring; which sometimes leads them into trouble, and mischief. In this post, I more want to share with you a method that we have found useful in our parenting that may help you in yours. As always this is just our God given opinion and not professional advice, although I feel parenthood is a degree-less superpower that tackles most areas of basic life. And before I get even further, I would like to say I loath the word punishment. Punishment can mean “the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.” To me, punishment just sounds to harsh and we are dealing with kids, not people going to jail. So I will say correction and this simple part of the correction process has helped me as a parent to nurture my kids even when they disobey.
I don’t know about you but I hate giving my kids discipline. I hate seeing his little eyes well up with tears and his bottom lip stick out when he knows he’s going in time out. However, I know that redirection and correction will help shape him and help him later on in life so I do it. I also am writing about my stage of life as a mom of a 2 year old and 6 month old so keep that in mind too. The other day my 2 year old son needed some correction and it looked a little like this: I had asked him not to do something and instead of him choosing to obey, he looked at me and went and did the thing I immediately told him not to do. #toddlersaresavage #toddlersaredaring. And in return I gave him correction. But a real important step that is often missed by parents including myself is: reconciliation with love AFTER they have received correction. A lot of times we as parents fall short in this area because we forget, didn’t think of it, we become passive or emotional because we feel hurt that they disobeyed or we hate disciplining our kids or whatever else for not being listened to. It even can go as far as a parent ignoring their child, yelling at them, or making them feel bad about themselves because they “messed up.” Kids ARE going to mess up as they figure out who they are while learning from right and wrong. But many times punishment means telling a kid not to do something and then not following up with them after you punish them. It also can lead to some very real and traumatic experience that can negatively impact a child’s heart. They could wonder if you still love them, think they are bad, or whatever else. And if you don’t trust me then bite a grain of salt and ask your kids how they feel. Kids are so honest and they will tell you the truth. Just don’t get mad at them or me when they tell you. But let’s refocus because that’s not what today’s blog is about.
Kids need that validation and to know that you are their safety even when they mess up. They need you in that moment more than ever to help guide them to the right decision and behavior next time. To reconcile can mean to have “restoration of friendly relations.” When we don’t take the time to reunite with our kids we can leave them feeling hurt, abandoned, confused to why they were punished, and/or can cause emotional trauma. We as parents won’t get this right all the time but if we can step back and do it some of the time it can make the world of a difference. When he calmed down from his tantrum, he came over to me and needed a hug. That is apart of the process. Even though he may not understand what I’m saying all the time he still gets that I love him and care for him and I’m there for him. A simple display through a hug. So without further ado I want to get to the step by step process we do with our son. This isn’t always to the tee the same everyday but it’s just the jist of it. This also can look and be different for each family and it does not need to be perfect and it won’t be every single time. I understand it can be frustrating when correcting a child and we are not perfect human beings. You are not a bad person because you yelled, ignored, or cried in front of your kid. But how you handle it afterwards means the world of a difference. And apologizing if you acted rashly, said something mean, or yelled means SO SO much. And do this without the “because you did this” statement. Thats trying to justify yourself and it really doesn’t mean you are sorry. I remember wishing one of my parents would have apologized for their yelling but they never did until later on in life when I voiced my concern about it. It just helps make a kid feel heard and they can see a great example of what to do after you mess up. You are their guide and model of how a person should act *no pressure.* But this doesn’t mean we need to act or be perfect, it just means we need to allow ourselves grace to move forward and be better the next time.
Steps of Reconciliation:
- When his two minutes of time out is done, we tell him WHY he was corrected. Many times we tell kids “no, don’t do this” but forget to tell them why they are being corrected and why it’s a bad idea to do “X Y and Z.” In telling them why you are showing them how they didn’t choose obedience. Sometimes I go further and ask him if he understands. He doesn’t quite have the words to express that but he still can understand. This also will help him feel heard and validated that we(parents) aren’t the only ones talking. It gives him a chance to explain and voice his concerns too.
- That brings me to my next step which is explaining we LOVE him. This is so important because correction of any kind can be huge for a little person. We all have different personalities and how we take each thing. The purpose of telling them you love them and then putting it into action comforts them and creates a safe place for them to express themselves. If you come at them with anger they will come at you with anger. If they are passive about it now, then it could happen later on in life when they are grown up. If you are prone to getting angry, don’t be ashamed just step away, breathe, refocus, and then deal with the issue at hand. Disciplining out of anger will do more harm than good.
- We then tell him we FORGIVE him and hope he CHOOSES obedience next time. We say Jesus and I love you, forgive you for not making the best decision and hope you choose obedience next time. We then HUG/CRY and then go about our business.
*these are my opinions, not certified professional advice…although I take motherhood as a unnoticed profession with my kids being my proof of “degree”, I am not claiming that these methods will cure, fix or even help you. I am just giving you another outlook on life and my God given opinion. Thanks for reading!