The King of Me

Self-control is so sorely lacking in our society! Troubles caused by lack of self-discipline range from littering to illegitimate babies to college shootings. We must start very young in teaching our little children to master themselves. They can never call God “Master” until they can call themselves the “King of Me”.

“The Bible teaches us to discipline our children and to love them. These are not opposites. They blend together. Loving discipline will grow in the child into self-discipline. And that is a prerequisite for the life of learning we hope he will lead.” (Ruth Beechick)

It starts by learning to obey Mommy when a child is not yet even able to talk. Teach your children that they must learn to be masters of their bodies and their minds. Coming first time when mother calls, sticking with a chore, not eating candy until after mealtime, saying “please” and “thank you”, or sitting quietly in church and during family devotional are all good practice. They really can learn to do it, little by little!

I like my little ones to memorize this clever poem to remind them who is really in charge! Making a paper crown with the words “King of Me” on it is a good reminder too.

      King of Me

I said to my feet, “Keep still!”
I said to my hands, “Just stay!”
I said to my all-over-everywhere self,
“I’m in charge of you today!”
I’m ruler of my mouth,
And I’m the “King of Me”

So when I tell me it’s quiet time,
I’m quiet as can be!

                                                                                   —unknown

 

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Why Listen?

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“Pick up your shoes!”

“Clear the table!”

“You’ve left your coat on the couch.”

“Don’t leave a wet towel on your bedroom floor!”

Sound familiar? I sometimes feel like I am a repeating public announcement: “Keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle until it comes to a complete stop” . . . “No smoking in the terminal”.

I don’t want to be a nag, and I know kids can easily go “parent deaf” if much of our communication is just remind-remind-remind. I was thinking hard about this when it hit me—why should they listen?! Is there any benefit involved? Is there any good reason to tune in to a parent’s constant reminders? Or is it just mom going through the drill of repeating, reminding and nagging?

Having had this brilliant thought, it occurred to me to make it worth Louisa’s while to pick up the towel off her bedroom floor—or better yet, to motivate her not to ever throw it there in the first place. This was my biggest gripe and my constant nag, so—without any fanfare—I posted a note on the bathroom mirror: “$1 charge for a towel on the floor”.

Guess how many times she paid $1? Actually just once! Unfortunately, I had trained her to ignore me, to know that I would repeat it over a few more times before expecting action. So, she didn’t really believe that I meant what I posted. I saw the towel on her floor and playfully demanded payment with out-stretched hand: “Aha! I caught you! One dollar, please!”

Oh my, I was for real! Now there was a reason to listen! Now she was on guard! It became worth her while to regulate herself.

This didn’t make me feel very good. Oh, yes, I was thrilled to be able to stop reminding her, but I felt rather bad that I had allowed myself to become a negative background noise. The cure was just too easy. That was 3 months ago and it is still working. There have been no towels on her floor ever, even though the note is long gone. Why? Well, it finally became beneficial for her to change her behavior. I wish I could have realized that earlier, and saved my breath!

Next time you open your mouth to issue a command, to nag or remind, ask yourself, “why should they listen?” Once there is a reason that benefits them, they’ll hear quite well even if it is whispered just once, or posted without a word.

To your parenting success!

 

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All My Kids Do is Complain

DCP_5061Question:

All my kids do is complain, whine, and try to get out of school work. Any advice?

Answer:

Your job is to find the best resources and methods to teach the information in a fun and interesting way that captivates their interest. Are you doing your job?

Your children’s job is to obey you, be grateful for your efforts, have a good attitude and do their work without whining. Are they doing their job?

If homeschool is dreary, or you are pre-occupied, doing other things, planning dental appointments, talking with neighbors, and not focusing on being present and fun during homeschool time, then your kids might have a reason to complain. There are lots of resources to help you make school more fun and interesting. If you get involved, you will really enjoy being with them and learning together!

If you are doing your part to make homeschool fun and interesting, then the problem generally lies with the children. Have they been allowed to complain in general in life? Such as, “I don’t like this food, “You’re always late”, etc. That attitude can carry over into homeschooling time and make everyone miserable.

We all struggle to teach our children to obey! It is one of those most difficult tasks of life—“Thy will, not my will.” Usually, disobedience is at the root of a bad attitude. I have discovered that my children yearn to be challenged and enjoy learning new things, even though they would lead me to believe that “it’s too hard.” Complaining and noncompliant behavior must never pay off. I make sure that it is totally unproductive to whine and complain. “I hate math, I don’t want to do this!” is met with an additional page of math facts to complete. It only takes a few extra assignments to convince a child that it isn’t worth complaining. Doing dishes works well to stop complaining too.

I make sure that my children know they can appeal to me, meaning that they can come to me privately and tell me how they honestly feel. If the math is too hard or boring, then I do all I can to remedy it. But generally, complaining and whining is just a protest that really means, “I don’t want to try. I just want to do what I want to do and I want it to be easy.” This “my will” attitude only leads to trouble.

Make it very worthwhile not to complain! Make sure no whining ever pays off or gets rewarded with attention (negative attention is still attention). Gift those who don’t whine with some sought-after benefit for holding their tongue. They will learn. Be persistent—kids learn fast if mother sticks with it. School is going to get a lot better! 

 

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