“ 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.
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.