While I love my children fiercely, I’ll be the first to admit they are wild cats! Often unruly and more than a little spoiled. I say this with shame.
You see my daughter is considered “special needs”. Though I do not like throwing around labels, she has a few: MR, unspecified (meaning they cannot determine the source), expressive/receptive language disorder, autistic characteristics, SPD and a few others. Over the years we have found it very difficult to discipline her. Nothing seemed to work and we never really knew if she was properly processing why she was being corrected and connecting it in such a way as to know not to do it again. Because of her delayed audio processing (it takes her longer to process what she is being told), we’ve grown accustomed to repeating every thing a dozen times. She is now matured enough to realize this and uses it to her advantage! She realizes that our repeating instructions/commands is a way for her to delay or put off doing what she does not want to do! Smart cookie, in that area! She also struggles with abstract thought and has never “gotten” a joke in her life, poor thing. However, she can regurgitate what we’ve told her time and again is wrong but it remains unclear if she actually comprehends “wrong”. It is a struggle.
Anyway, Buck (our son) does not have any of these issues. In fact, there are some things which he understands better than his sister, who is six years his senior. However, he’s our little boy, our baby, and keeps us laughing. Thus, he’s spoiled. He is used to getting what he wants. Again, I admit it shamefully.
Well, our upcoming move to Blessed Hope Farm is about to change the way we do things in our family. The children have already been notified of our “new rules” and are so far on board with them. They will be 10 and 4 within the next few weeks, so it cannot be too late to break old habits, can it? I do not think so.
Two of our new rules include: no fussing and minimal repeating. Sure, they fuss with each other. That’s gonna stop and be replaced with “honoring others more highly than ourselves” (Philippians 2: 3-4). Also, we’ve realized recently that Beauty is having “meltdowns” as a form of manipulation. I refer to it as her being “fussy”. That’s out of here! As I mentioned, she is also manipulating us with forcing us to repeat every thing a dozen times. I’m on to her game (lol) and can now tell when she does not understand and when she is just not wanting to obey. Little brother absorbs everything, including her manipulations, and tries them out for himself.
New Rules: No fussing and minimal repeating. Period. We’ve decided the best way to accomplish this is of course through consistency, but just as (if not even more) important is for us to lead by example. I’m afraid we fell into the trap of wanting to argue with the kids and the repeating usually became frustrated and ill-tempered. If we want our kids to behave a certain way, we must lead by example.
There is a woman at our church with two teenage boys. Buck loves them and they adore him, which is good because I want Buck to spend as much time with them as possible as they are the most well-behaved, respectful young gentlemen I have ever met. I kid you not, when their mom whistles their ears immediately perk up and she has their full attention. Unfortunately, I cannot whistle…but I may have to buy one! 🙂