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Friday, June 11, 2010

.Targeting the Heart.

The way Jim and I have chosen to discipline in our home is to discipline heart behaviors rather than just the offenses that are a result of the heart behavior. We try to make Cadi see the heart issue for herself by asking probing questions. I am not going to pretend that we are perfect and follow through perfectly every time, but we really strive for consistency and have found good results thus far in our home.

I am writing this to share with you a really great (and inexpensive!!) resource for targeting the heart of children. It is a little pamphlet by Ginger Plowman called Wise Words for Moms .

I am going to explain how this works out practically in case this concept is new to some. Here is my disclaimer, though. I am going to use an actual incident that we have encountered and corrected in Cadi. I would normally never do this. I am under the strong belief that correction and discipline is a private and intimate experience we have with our children. I do not want to exploit that or my child. I am proceeding cautiously and hope to portray this scenario with dignity. I believe the Bible wants me to exhort my children, but for this purpose I will share - cautiously.

Scenario: Cadi does not pick up her toy room after being asked.

Correction: Rather than focusing on Cadi's action - not cleaning up the toy room, we focus on her heart behavior - defeat or giving up. We would ask her some heart questions such as What if Jesus had given up and not died on the cross? or What should you do when tempted to give up? Then we would share truth from the Bible 2 Thessalonians 3:13 Do not give up and do not rely on your own strength. We would talk to her about getting rid of (putting off) this action of giving up and instead using (putting on) perseverance (something we have really focused on in our home). Finally we would pray with Cadi that God would give her the strength to persevere - even when it's hard and we might share some encouraging verses with her at this time.

What this pamphlet does is give topics, heart questions, verses of reproof, verses of encouragement and additional verses. It is such a wonderful tool. This weekend while traveling to my sister's home for her yard sale I am taking it with us to memorize some of these verses while we travel. I have trouble always remembering them when I am in the midst of correction.

How does your family handle disobedience?

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Celee said...

We try to focus on the 10 commandments and disobedience in general. For instance when 2 of our kids are being ugly to each other, we try to point out if pride or covetousness is at the root of the disagreement. We always discipline swiftly for direct disobedience. As a result, our older kids (6 and up) are quite obedient. However, as you point out there's more to it than that. They could certainly obey on the outside while harboring a rebellious heart. This is why we also try to get at the heart of the issue. It does take more time, but hopefully will be worth it in the long run. Thanks for the source, I'll have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

I have that same "pamphlet" or whatever you call it!! :) I love problem is that I am also very bad about remembering the right words/verses in the moment. I should add some of those to my memorization cards...great idea! :)

BARBIE said...

Oh thank you. I am not sure I've ever disciplined the right way and never have scripture in my head when I need it. I've just ordered this book and will commit to memorizing the scriptures so that they help in teaching my children.

Tiffygator said...

I've honestly never thought of parenting this way. My oldest is pretty hard to discipline and actually see a change in her behavior. So far consequences and getting upset have not worked at all...maybe this will.

I will have to order it the next time I put in an Amazon order.



Carrie said...

Thank you for sharing this - i will definitely have to look into this pamphlet. Z is only two, so with him, I have had him memorize two 'verses' - "obey your parents" and "think about others and not just yourself". So when he disobeys, we discipline and then we talk about obeying God by obeying your parents. When he does something that hurts someone else, like hitting his sister, we discipline, and then talk about thinking of others. I really love Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp, that's all about getting to your child's heart instead of just addressing behavior - so important. Thanks for sharing your example - I love learning from godly parents who are going before! :)

Just read a post about this at MOB (Moms Of Boys) Society yesterday, thought you might enjoy it:

Nutty Mom said...

Ok so I read this post early this morning. And my immediate thought was "who actually disciplines like that? I mean for real?".

You see I grew up in a house of spankings and groundings. That was it. It wasn't ever even explained WHAT we were getting a spanking for, or what we were in trouble for. We were supposed to figure it out. There was no "Christ centered discipline" even though my parents were missionaries. So when I had kids I wanted to do better and we really strive to. But the thought never even occurred to me to include Christ in the discipline process. (Like I said when you don't grow up with it, why would you think of it?)

So all day long this post has been resonating in my mind. "Fermenting" if you will. So tonight when I asked Peanut and Donut to clean up their mess, and Peanut refused because she said she didn't make it, I first jumped to MY discipline of "you'll do it cuz I said so" and "you'll do it or else...". (I was busy taking care of some milk issues for my 6 month old). When I could hear her crying from the other room over the fact that she had to do something she didn't want to, your post popped back in my head. I called her in and tried a different approach. "Peanut, you know mommy loves you right?"
"And you know God loves you right?"
"Ok, well God tells you to obey mommy and daddy. So when you disobey mommy, you're also disobeying God".
"Does that make God sad?" she asks
"Yes, God wants us to obey even when we don't want to."
She turned tail, marched out of the room and picked up ALL the toys.

Later when she was in the bath she says "Mommy, it made God happy when I picked up the toys and obeyed right?"
"Yes sweetie, it makes God happy when we obey".
"Good, then it makes me happy too".

Let me just say thank you (to you), and wow (to a whole new world of discipline).

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