When our children were young we did not have any extra money floating around. With 6 children it seemed that there was always "too much month left over at the end of our money". To help ease things financially, I babysat other children during the day, some after school and some all day. Very often my house resembled a zoo at any given moment. Somehow we survived!!
An interesting thing happened on more than one occasion... A mom or dad would come to pick up their child at the close of the work day. I had watched this child from 7:30 to 6:00 and had very little problems. He/she would play, interact with others, and generally be a well behaved little person. When the parent walked in the door, the child turned, in an instance, into a holy terror, screaming, kicking and demanding the parent's attention. What happened???
This child knew what methods worked with their parents.
The parent would ask," What do you do to make your children so well behaved?" I would share with them some of our secrets but they would not want to use the principles we used, even though those very principles brought about happy, respectful, well adjusted children.
Numerous times while eating out with our family at a restaurant, when they were all under the age of 13, other diners would approach our table, usually remarking on the size of our family. In the course of the conversation, they would compliment us on how well behaved our little ones were. My husband and I would look at each other rather blankly...."this is normal".
Honestly, I am not telling this to brag, but just to try to make a point.... loving, effective discipline works, consistent child training works, but it is hard work! It was hard work and God's help that made it happen.
So what did we do??....
The number one priority was obedience. We expected to be obeyed no matter what. At a very early age, we started training our children to obey. When they were crawling around, pulling up to things, reaching for things, we worked on abedience. If they reached for something that was "off limits", they were firmly told "NO" and taken away from the temptation. If we were at a Bible study, they were taught to be quiet. They soon learned that "no" means "NO". As they grew older, "no" still meant "no" and it was because "I said so!"
No arguing, no questions. If we were not obeyed, the children knew there would be consequences.
I am going to go into depth about some of this in later chapters, but I want to say one thing right now... Our children today are not warped, stifled, backward, socially inept misfits, but rather are happy, well adjusted, interesting, productive men and women. Heaven forbid, they were disciplined!
Whew! My knees are stiff from standing on my soapbox so long. I will climb down and head for bed..Come again tomorrow and we will get into some specifics.