Family Camps and Family sermons are a blessing for a mom who is hungry to do things God’s way! I can remember times when after attending Family Camp, I’d come home all fired up and ready to set my girls on the straight and narrow path of discipline. Yes sir, we were going to have an organized, happy, well-run home now! So I’d get out my notes from the sermon on Child Discipline and I’d begin to apply the rules, and the loving discipline that came as a result of not obeying Mommy. Wow! What a change! My daughters knew their limitations, what was expected, and what would happen if they chose to disobey. I learned that children want to know where the boundaries are. It made our girls feel loved and safe. It made them happy, and it made their parents happy! That is until…
A tiring day would set in. Maybe it started because I had a migraine the night before and got little sleep. Maybe we’d had a busy day, and everyone was worn out…especially Mom. One of the girls would “cross the line” and do one of the “Taboo” things they were recently taught not to do, and in my weariness I’d overlook it. I’d excuse it for one reason or another. Then not long thereafter, she’d add another “taboo” action or response, and she knew it, and so did I, but in my weariness I’d reason, “don’t we all have bad days now and then, for goodness sake?”
On and on this would continue, until finally Mom had had ENOUGH. The proverbial tea kettle boiled over and Katie bar the door, this child was in BIG TROUBLE! Discipline was given, but in anger and frustration, rather than loving correction. How unfair. How cruel of me. The only thing I taught my child in moments like those was to be afraid of Mom!
It was time for Mom to go to school and learn some parenting Math:
Discipline + Consistency = Loving Training
Discipline – Consistency = Unfair Cruelty
This equation is true in every area of parenting. We learn this from our heavenly Father. God is a just God. He’s immutable (never changing). He loves us enough to consistently discipline and correct every time we disobey.
Last week I gave some encouragement for moms who desire to train their children to sit in church. I heard through the grapevine that one mom read that post and then said, “I sure hope this works!” It’s no secret formula, for sure, it’s just doing the math problem above, adding discipline with consistency in order to lovingly train your child to sit quietly in church. It takes time, it takes patience, but probably the most important ingredient is the consistency!
When you’re doing the training at home on your couch, if you overlook him getting down a couple times because he “needed his blankie,” or “he wanted his other sippie cup,” you are headed for nothing but frustration. It’s essential that what you expect from your child you adhere to each and every single time. Without that consistency, your child won’t know what’s really expected. They will be confused. One day you correct him for getting down or throwing a fit, the next day, you overlook it. Then when you’re sitting in church and he decides to take a trip down the aisle during the sermon, you’re now embarrassed by his actions, and you chase him down, snatch him up in anger, and storm out of the service. How unfair and cruel.
On my inconsistent days with my daughters, when I finally got back on track and followed through with the loving training, you know what happened? The strife was gone from our home! The Tea Kettle settled down, and my child was once again happy! Yes, even after being corrected. Love your child enough to be consistent with him. It’s the loving training that will bring glory to God and peace in your home and hearts!
When do you find it hardest to be consistent in child-training?