Every parent dreads the day that they wake up and realize that their children are out of control! For whatever reason, your sweet, responsible, caring, obedient children go missing and you don’t know where they went. Instead you are faced with children who are disrespectful, rude to others, irresponsible, inconsiderate, and unruly – despite your best efforts.
This seems to be the case in my household recently. We have been so busy with our life’s challenges that we have given in to our children’s self-indulgent behavior, become lenient with our authority, and are now facing children that we are not familiar with.
We battled this war once before when we removed our children from public school, thus, in my mind, this should be a cake walk….. it’s not. No matter how many times you have pulled back the reins, it is never easy. Additionally, what would have worked before, may not work again.
This time, my husband and I have formed a plan of attack, discussed it thoroughly, and are changing it daily! “Plan A”, has been amended at least three times since we started…. yesterday.
This is what we are doing. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t work for us, but maybe it could help you….
Day 1: Family discussion regarding our problem areas.
On Saturday evening our family gathered for a discussion regarding our complaints. I created a document with three headings: RULE, CONSEQUENCE, NOTES
As a family we discussed what our issues were, created a corresponding rule, decided on the consequence for violations, and left blank areas for notes to be written/typed in later. Afterwards this document was printed and placed upon our refrigerator for quick reference later.
Note: We could have created this document without including our children. However, we felt it would help them to remember better if they too were involved.
Day 2: New rules, new day, get with the program
Our children were reminded of our new rules at the start of the day. It didn’t take long for them to “forget” and beg to “start over”. We didn’t allow it. Inconsistent and leniency is what got us into this mess and it had to stop at some point. (What a hard lesson for us all)
Day 3: Mommy is on her own!
It is easy for them to obey orders when Daddy is around; the true test is when he is gone.
By the end of this day I have written in my “notes” section, privileges have been taken for so long that the children are in a state of “what do I care, I don’t have anything for a month anyway”….. ugh. This is not what I wanted to accomplish at all.
When my husband returned I explain that although he didn’t want to use additional chores as a punishment, the removal of privileges is not immediate enough. We need to revamp our consequences to show immediate action so our children do not grow weary and hopeless. (so I don’t grow weary and hopeless too…)
So I changed our rules or “Not to be tolerated list” to show new consequences for some violations. Because our evening ran later than expected, this list will be discussed with the children over breakfast instead. (Note: the list provided above is in its current form)
Day 4: “Lord help me”