Want a Peaceful Home?

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Aren’t there days when we would give our children’s birthright for some peace and quiet?

Oh, wait. I remember a story about that with two brothers named Esau and Jacob. Giving up a birthright did NOT end well. Scratch that….

Yet the fact remains – there are days we would give up a whole lot for a little peace and quiet around the house, wouldn’t we?

That is why the following verses jumped out at me. Hebrews 12:10-11 NLT

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

But afterwards there will be a peaceful harvest ! 

What an amazing promise. If we endure the discipline  – we will reap the rewards.

Why do we give up on disciplining our children? There are as many reasons as there are families, but here are some common causes:

  • we as parents are tired
  • we give in
  • we are disciplining the same bad behavior again and again
  • we give in
  • our children whine and fuss
  • we give in
  • we forget to follow through, i.e. make sure they don’t use their device, get desert, etc.
  • we give in

Do we see a pattern here? We give in, we aren’t consistent, we don’t follow through on what we say.

I will always remember a high school junior telling his classmates that he didn’t care that his parents had grounded him for a month. “They will forget about it in a week.”

If I say that there is a certain consequence for a certain behavior – I must FOLLOW THROUGH.

If I don’t act on my discipline consistently, I am sending the very strong message that I don’t mean what I say, and that there aren’t really any consequences for my child’s actions.

This will not lead to a peaceful home!

Notice verse 11 says discipline is “painful”. It is often harder for us as parents to follow through than to give in.

BUT….giving in has a price.

This will not lead to a peaceful home!

Let’s commit ourselves to consistent discipline so that afterward we will reap a peaceful harvest of right living.

We will have a peaceful home when we commit ourselves to following through – meaning what we say.

We can have a peaceful home, even in the midst of chaos.

Philippians 4:6-7 LB

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

“No” Still Means “No”

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We have dear friends who have 4 children just like we do, also now grown. Their children were all born after our youngest, so it has been interesting (fun?) to watch their children go through each of the growth stages after our children had done so.

This kind of situation is proof that hind sight is 20-20. It is so easy to think of solutions after one has faced a particularly difficult stage with a child. It is also easy to watch children a few years older than yours and think “I would never let my children do that!”

This is dangerous territory!

Truth be known, no two families are alike and we don’t know what we would do in another’s situation.

Our friends had one child with a strong will – to be honest and a VERY strong will. They are effective, nurturing parents and from the beginning they set clear boundaries and had realistic expectations. Yet, this child tested every limit and challenged every standard set by the parents. We were visiting from out-of-town one weekend when he was about 3 or 4 years old. The parents were giving bed time instructions to their children and this one kept asking for changes to the normal routine.

Children will frequently do this when there are guests since they think the parents

  • 1) aren’t really paying attention or
  • 2) the parents don’t want a “scene” in front of the guests.

Both of these ideas are quite often TRUE!

Our friends did not give in. They firmly repeated “no means no” and refused to discuss the matter further. This did not deter their son at first. He, being a very bright and creative child, had new and unique alternatives to the standard bedtime procedures. The parents did not cave in, they repeated “no means no” calmly and firmly and soon their son was in bed.

I commented to the mother after he was tucked in for the night, “You were so consistent! You repeated “no means no” and meant it!” She smiled a weary smile and said, “Gayle, if you only knew how many times a day I say that. Every reason I give him just creates another opportunity for him to come up with an excuse for not obeying. But a simple “no means no” works. Sometimes I get so tired and I want to give up, but I know we need to require obedience.”

Don’t give up.

God requires obedience from His children “Thou shall not steal” “Thou shall not commit adultery” “Honor your father and your father”. Exodus 20: 12, 14, 15

These are not suggestions. God does not say “If it’s ok with you, don’t take anything that isn’t yours” or  “Try to be faithful to your husband, alright?”

To God – no still means no.

Are we sending mixed messages to our children when it is nap time and we say “Do you want to take a nap now?” Is there a choice? If there is fine – but nap time in our house was NOT a choice. It was the goal each afternoon to get everyone fed, changed, and down for a nap at the same time! If I had said “Do you want to take a nap now?” one of my four might have said “no!” My day would have fallen apart!!!

Yet I hear many parents, and I probably did this some myself, ask their children if they are ready for lunch, nap time, supper, clean up time, bath time, etc. It would be a clearer communication of my expectations if I said, “It’s time for lunch. Please come sit down at the table.” ” It’s nap time, take your shoes off and pick out one story.”, or “You had so much fun playing with all these toys today. Now it is time to put them away before you go to bed.”

It is unfair to the child to appear to a choice when I don’t intend to allow the child to choose. Let my “no” mean “no” and my “yes” mean “yes”.

Believe me, it will be so much easier when your children are teenagers if they learn “no means no” at a young age! It is less difficult to deal with issues of obedience when a child is 3 or 4 than when they are 13 or 14.

No still means no.

The Right Time

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“He is NOT cute any more!”

Now wait a minute…..

this is my grandson you are talking about…..

…the one who dresses up as Gandolf, Batman, and Bob the Minion (my personal favorite)

Our daughter called to tell me our three-year-old grandson was no longer cute. He had expended all his allotted “cuteness quotient” and his behavior was no longer entertaining.

It was annoying.

His time had come.

He would now be held accountable for his behavior.

My friend, Alice Marie and I were talking about this and she mentioned that her little sister used to get her in trouble on purpose when they were young. Their father would threaten to spank Alice Marie if her little sister cried. It had to be Alice Marie’s fault since she was the oldest and knew better, right?

Her little sister would say “Me gonna scream, Daddy spank YOU!” when she wanted to have her own way.

Evidently, I did something similar to my older brother. I had polio when I was two years old. After being treated in isolation  and released from the hospital, I was weak and had to have physical therapy to regain strength and function in my muscles. It was a difficult time for our family, and I must have started to take advantage of all the attention.

My mother asked the doctor how long I should be coddled and favored. The doctor told mother that each child was different, but that she would know when to return to treating me normally.

A few days later, mother said she came down the stairs to hear me say to my older brother – “You have to give me that toy because I had polio, you know!”

The time had come.

I was no longer the sick child who needed extra attention.

I was held accountable for my actions. Polio was no longer an excuse for bad behavior.

It is natural for us as parents and grandparents to require more from the older children and spoil the younger ones.

This is not fair, nor is it healthy for any of the children. I need to guard against giving in just because they are “cute”.

I remember Jay Fesperman teaching us as new parents – “What is cute at 5 years old is NOT cute at 15 years old. When do you want to deal with it? When your child is 5 or 15?”

Such words of wisdom.

There is a right time to hold our children accountable for their behavior and allow them to suffer the consequences when they disobey. They don’t finish their supper – they don’t get dessert, or snacks after supper. They throw their toys inside the house – those toys are put away for a week.

If one of our children is suffering, we are especially vulnerable to giving in to them. Sometimes they know this and take advantage of our weakness. But we are sending a very wrong message when we do that which is – “Just act hurt and you won’t have to obey, or follow through, or clean up. etc.”

We want to be sensitive to the right time to offer extra help or give our children grace for messing up. Doesn’t our Heavenly Father do that for us?

We need God’s wisdom to know when the “right time” occurs to hold our children accountable.

James 1:5 (ESV)

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

We must utilize this wonderful promise from God’s Word!

I need to pray for wisdom from God each and every day as I parent and grandparent.

God will show us the right time.

God is faithful.