Friday, May 25, 2007

Shepherding a Child's Heart - Part 2

Verse of the Day:
“ My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19)

At the end of Tedd Tripp's book, Shepherding a Child's Heart, he takes parents through stages of child development and for each stage discusses 1) training objectives and 2) training procedures. DearDaughter is 18 months old and falls into the Infancy to Childhood "category."

Below are excerpts from these sections and following the excerpts are the changes I've made this week in dealing with DearDaughter. Again, as a disclaimer, these are only excerpts and I do recommend reading the whole book to put these excerpts in context.

The key passage of Scripture for this period is:

Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with a promise: "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." (Ephesians 6:1-3)

...obedience is a response to God. Children must learn that they have been made for God. They have a duty to Him. He has the right to rule them. They owe Him obedience.


Submission to earthly authority is a specific application of being a creature under God's authority. Submission to God's authority my seem distant and theoretical. Mom and Da, however, are present. Obedience to God is reflected in a child's growing understanding of obedience to parents.

Acquaint your children with authority and submission when they are infants. This training starts the day you bring them home from the hospital.

These lessons, firmly established in early years, will yield fruit throughout childhood. Establish these principles and you will eliminate the need to have repeated contests over authority.

Obedience Defined
...Obedience is the willing submission of one person to the authority of another. It means more than a child doing what he is told. It means doing what he is told -

Without Challenge,
Without Excuse,
Without Delay.

...If they [children] must obey, you must challenge disobedience and persevere until the lessons of submission are learned. Victory does not come to the faint of heart. You will rarely witness resolute will power such as you find in a toddler who has determined not to obey.

Clear directives and thorough reinforcement are essential. Never allow your children to disobey without dealing with them...

...Failure to be consistent is capricious. Inconsistency means that correction revolves around your convenience rather than around objective biblical principle. While they are still young, you must teach your children that obedience is a necessity, not one of many options.

If you accept challenge, delay or excuses, you are not training submission. You are, rather, training your children how to manipulate authorities and live on the ragged edge of disobedience. You teach them to toss you an occasional bone of obedience to keep you at bay.

You must not warn. You must not ask if they want to be spanked. If you do, you are training them to wait for the warning before they obey. Your children must understand that when you speak for the first time, you have spoken for the last time.

Once your children understand that they are creatures under authority and that they cannot always do what they like, you can begin to teach them how to appeal to their authorities.

You cannot accept refusal to obey...

You can, however, teach them to appeal to authority. They are not machines. They have ideas and thoughts...

What changes have I implemented in my dealings with DearDaughter?
- The first challenge I gave myself was to refrain from getting angry or yelling at DearDaughter. I was really convicted by the excerpt in my first post that rage is "ungodly and wicked." If I am to be a respected "authority" then I must also treat DearDaughter with respect also and speak to her in a respectful, gentle, and kind manner. This week, I practiced saying "PLEASE" and "THANK YOU" everytime I spoke to DearDaughter. If there was something I needed her to do I would say what I needed to say and add "PLEASE" to it. If she was quick to obey I would say "THANK YOU" and even "THANK YOU FOR OBEYING MOMMY."

- The second challenge I gave myself was to discipline DearDaughter when she did not obey and to do it consistently. This was actually more difficult than I thought and at some moments tears welled up in my eyes.
For example: DearDaughter likes to throw her sippy cup on the floor. The first time she threw it on the floor this week, I told her that throwing her sippy cup on the floor is a "No No" and then I showed her that the right thing to do is to set her sippy cup either on the table or on a chair. The next time she threw her cup on the floor, I calmly picked up her hand, gave her a spanking, and said to her, "Mommy told you that throwing your sippy cup on the floor is a NO NO. I am spanking you because you did not obey Mommy. I love you and because I love you, you need to learn how to obey Mommy." After spanking DearDaughter, I would hug and kiss her and show her the right thing to do. I was consistent in practicing this all week.

What are the results of these changes?
- First, I have to claim victory over not yelling or getting angry at DearDaughter through the whole week! Praise the Lord! There were many times when I was on the verge of getting impatient and angry, but the Lord helped me through those times and I was able to patiently, kindly, and gently talk to DearDaughter.

- Second, by calmly correcting DearDaughter, she has taken these disciplinary actions more seriously than before. When I corrected DearDaughter in anger she used to think I was playing with her. As I have consistently corrected DearDaughter in this manner, I have noticed that I don't have to repeat myself as often and she does "immediately" obey.

- Third, it was difficult being consistent in correcting DearDaughter because sometimes it did feel like all I was doing was correcting, correcting, and correcting (which is why tears welled up in my eyes). I just felt like I was being overbearing. So, I tried to break up those down periods with periods of play time or a time of being silly with Mommy to let DearDaughter know that I love her.

Even in just one short week, I have already seen great improvement in my relationship with DearDaughter. I think the greatest improvement was the attitude within my own heart. The Lord needed to set it right and I thank God that He is helping me.

1 comment:

Trish D said...

Thank you for sharing - I really need to pull this book back out!

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