Chicky and I were chatting about creative parenting in the wee hours last night. It really got me thinking about parenting in general and how it is our responsibility to prepare our children for an unloving and unforgiving world. No one likes to go to Walmart and see a bratty kid throwing him/herself on the ground. No one likes seeing the parent pretend that it is acceptable behavior. Or even worse, wailing on the kid. Neither is a good thing. What is worse than that is seeing a young adult get the proverbial smack-down because this world doesn’t give a flying-flip about them and the person/people responsible for teaching them failed.
I’ve talked about parenting often because it’s something I am familiar with. My children are getting older now and I can look back and see my mistakes clearly in hindsight. <Gasp> I made mistakes? Yes, and many. But I have learned from one too many humiliating (for me and the kids) situations that I have to be strong and consistent for them. Their well being as well as my own really do depend on that structure.
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol(hell).
Sometimes, we must take our children to the woodshed. Be that literal or not we must enforce a level of discipline they can understand and respect. That does not mean striking out when they get on your nerves or bullying them. But at the same time, you must not be a weakling. To me, that is a form of abuse that sets your baby up for misery and a lifetime of failure.
With five, I have had to be creative in my methods. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Kids are bickering? Great! Give me fifty squats and then hold for two minutes and give be fifty more. That is what I call putting fire on their behinds. Physical exertion for Momma? None. Although I do laugh at them. Go ahead, call me mean. Doesn’t matter how angry they are at the start, they will ache too much by the time we are finished to care anymore. Really gives them a chance to examine if it was worth it.
2. Kids are bored? Great! Toothbrush, bar of soap and the the kitchen floor…we have a party. That’s not enough to take away those rainy-day blues? There are two toilets with your name all over them. Go for it! This method encourages the active pursuit to occupy one’s time all on his/her own.
3. Kids screaming in the car? Great! They don’t really want the ride. Allowing the child to run alongside the car is a great motivator and good exercise as well. Shoot, they may be a marathon runner some day and all because of you. You go getter, you.
**Note** This only works on old country roads or mountain roads. I do not recommend highway or city discipline. Come on, people, use your head. 😛
4. Kids won’t clean their room? Great! You’ve been meaning to donate more to the local Hospice Thrift Store. Can anyone say Hefty, Hefty Hefty? Mighty fine of the kids to sacrifice their stuff like that. This method teaches a strong value to charitable work and eventually leads to children appreciating what they have. They tend to take very good care of their rooms after just one lesson.
A. Give your child a check each week for $50 in an envelope. Also include their bill…food, rent, clothing…anything it cost to keep them. It usually works out that the child owes a large amount of money to you. This is like a double bonus. You pay them for doing absolutely nothing extraordinary and the return on your investment is triple. Woohoo. I have five. I am still waiting on one of them to ask for allowance.
B. Food is an excellent motivator as well. You want to eat, my lovlies? Great! Do your chores and there will be no problem. Three squares a day(home-cooked, a snack and usually a delectable dessert.. Otherwise, you get nothing. I have no problem sending a child to bed hungry. It is all their choice. The food is available for all that contribute.
The fate of the world is in our hands. We must prevent brat-ism. Get creative and for goodness sake have fun with it. We only have a little time to
warp teach them.
Peace, love and God’s will.