Powerful Correction Routines

Routine is a powerful thing, and when it comes to correcting our kids, it offers that sense of justice that kids so crave, but it also helps us keep our emotions out of it. Even in the face of anger, a solid correction routine will take over and keep us from losing our cool.

This post assumes that we’re not talking about Willful Disobedience, which we will deal with separately next week. Check back on Monday for a post on what it is and how to handle it. In the meantime, here’s a quick summary of the basic steps to a powerful correction routine.

  1. 1. Name the misbehavior
  2. 2. Give a reminder
  3. 3. Three Question Correction
  4. 4. Restore & Empower
  5. 5. Choose a Training Tool

 

Name the Misbehavior

Start by getting down on your child’s level, looking them square in the eye, and using a calm, low tone voice to say, “You are disobeying me.” If the child is arguing, say, “You are arguing with me.” If they’re complaining, say, “You are complaining.”

For the most part, misbehavior is going to fall under one of the following labels:

  • Disobedience
  • Arguing
  • Disrespect
  • Dishonor
  • Whining/Complaining
  • Having a Bad Attitude

When a child misbehaves, don’t try to distract him. For example, when telling your five-year-old it’s time to leave the playground and she drops to the ground and screams, “NOOO!!!” don’t distract her by telling her all the fun things you are going to do after you leave (we’re going to McDonald’s, and when daddy comes home, we’re going to watch your favorite movie). This doesn’t protect her self-esteem as some modern, misguided therapists suggest. It endorses poor behavior by ignoring it.

If you tell your son to begin doing his homework, and he says, “But I never get to play this game. I’ll do it when the game is over,” name the misbehavior: “You are arguing. Would you like to try that again?”

Give a Reminder

Which brings us to the next step: Give a Reminder. Everyone needs a reminder from time to time. Once you’ve named the misbehavior, you can ask, “Would you like to try that again?”

If they adjust their behavior, great! Your job is done. If not, they might be venturing in Willful Disobedience, which we’ll cover on Monday of next week.

Three Question Correction

Sometimes the misbehavior happens before you ever had a chance to give them another chance. They already hurt someone else’s feelings or their carelessness caused something to get broken or their procrastination caused them to run out of time to finish their homework.

In most situations, you can use the Three Question Correction to help them recognize and take responsibility for their choice and think through ways to prevent it from happening again.

Here are the three questions:

  1. 1. What did you do that was wrong? Never ask “why did you do that?” it only gives kids platform to defend wrong behavior.
  2. 2. Why is that wrong?
  3. 3. What could you have done differently?

You might have to help them think these through and even offer suggestions if they get stumped.

Restore and Empower

End every correction routine (usually following the 3-question correction) with affection (hugs and kisses) and an assurance that you have completely forgiven them and believe they will learn and grow and make a better choice next time.

Say, “I discipline you because I love you, and I want God’s best for your life. I know that God rewards obedience, so I want to help you learn to be obedient. You are going to soar like an eagle!”

Then send them off with a light heart  so they can try again.

Choose a Training Tool

First and foremost, the child might need to take restoration steps: apologize to the person they hurt using the 6 A’s of Apology, pick up a chair they knocked over in anger, clean up a mess they made, etc.

After that, you may need to choose a training tool to help correct their behavior and learn and grow from it. Check back next week. We’re going to talk about Natural Consequences, Negative Reinforcement Tools, Positive Reinforcement Tools, Preventative Measures and Corrective Conversations.

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with ten kids between them (ages 1 to 30), including one on the autism spectrum, plus one baby grandchild. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to Parent On Purpose (POP) with the end result in mind.

More Posts

The Appeal

Last week we talked about things that can undermine a parent’s authority. High on that list is a child’s sense of injustice.

We always want our kids to obey immediately, cheerfully, and thoroughly, but we also want our older children to feel like they have a voice and that we are willing to hear them.

The Appeal is one way that parents can help fight against feelings of injustice and give kids a voice. Here’s how it works.

When a mature child has proven that he is able to obey immediately, cheerfully, and thoroughly on a very regular basis, and when that child has shown both wisdom and responsibility, he’s earned the right to make an appeal.

This has more to do with maturity than age. So a 9-year-old who regularly shows obedience, wisdom and responsibility (does chores without being asked, strives for excellence in housework and school work, is helpful and cheerful, etc.) earns the right to make an appeal. On the other hand, a sixteen year old, who is regularly disrespectful, irresponsible (loses her things, forgets to finish homework, leaves chores incomplete) and is disobedient does not have the right to make an appeal.

First Things First — Does Your Child Have NEW Information?

A child can make an appeal when he has been given an instruction, but he has more information that could change things. For example, you tell your son it’s time to go to bed, but he knows that he has a paper due in the morning that still needs one more revision. In that case, he has information you don’t have. He can say, “May I make an appeal?”

If the parent says no, the only acceptable response is, “Okay” and then immediate obedience. If the parent says, “yes” then the child can share the new information, in which case the parent may change the instruction (i.e. “Okay, you can stay up for an extra half hour.”) or not. If the parent does not change his or her mind, the child must obey without any further discussion.

Arguing is a Deal Breaker

Any form of arguing can cause a child to lose the privilege of making an appeal for a set amount of time (i.e. two weeks) until he can show that he obeys without question.

Keep in mind that an appeal can only be made if the child has new information the parent doesn’t have. Not feeling like doing what she’s been asked to do does not constitute new information. Wanting to play a game for five more minutes does not constitute new information. However, if a child is within minutes of finishing a very high level in a game that he has been working on for weeks, it could be considered new information.

Also, a child can only make an appeal to the parent who gave him the instruction. For example, if dad tells Sam to go rake the yard and does not grant an appeal, Sam can’t then appeal to mom.

Sit your kids down and teach them what The Appeal is and how to use it, and then give it a try. Stop by and leave a comment to let us know how it’s going.

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with ten kids between them (ages 1 to 30), including one on the autism spectrum, plus one baby grandchild. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to Parent On Purpose (POP) with the end result in mind.

More Posts

The Difference Between Honor and Respect

Hang with us long enough, and you’ll find out that we put a lot of emphasis on definitions. Healthy communication is the bedrock of healthy relationships, and healthy relationships are the foundation of a truly successful life. Clear definitions are powerful communication tools.

Today, we’re going to talk about teaching our kids the difference between honor and respect.

Honor

Our definition: “Positioning others above yourself; showing awe and awareness of the sacredness of God’s creation.”

Philippians 2:3,4 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Honor is about placing other people’s needs before our own. It’s about letting people go before us. It’s about assuming that other people know more than we do. It’s about choosing to lower ourselves to elevate others.

Make not mistake here — we’re not suggesting you become a doormat and let people abuse you and wipe their mud on you. Think of it as being a step ladder, bowing down willingly to help others reach their next level.

If honor means lifting someone up, then dishonor is putting a person beneath you:

  • Cutting in front of someone in line

  • Interrupting someone who is talking

  • Being a “know it all”

  • Road rage

  • One-upping each other

  • Always trying to beat someone in a game

  • Being a sore loser or an arrogant winner

Dishonor could look like one child pushing another out of the way saying, “Just let me do it,” when she’s frustrated with teaching her sibling a new computer skill.

Honoring siblings and friends prepares a child for adult life and gives them an opportunity to practice stewarding people.

Honoring the people we know, and the ones we don’t, needs to be high on our list of family values. Some ways to instill it in our kids is to teach them to hold doors for other people (including and especially their siblings) and to let people go before them in a food line. But remember, we have to set the example and enforce the behavior in all situations. It’s repetition that turns a behavior into a habit.

Respect

If honor is all about position, then respect is all about attention.

There are two kinds of respect — respect for people and respect for things.

Our definition: “(with regard to people) Giving a person the attention he or she deserves. (with regard to things) Carefully and thoughtfully showing proper courtesy for other people’s belongings.”

We show respect to people when we give the person the attention he or she deserves.

We respect those in authority by saluting them, which is a special kind of attention, and by being attentive to and adhering to the rules and requirements of the authority figure. Our kids respect our authority when they pay attention to the family rules, listen to our wisdom and carefully weigh our advice.

We respect teachers and mentors buy listening to them (which is giving them our attention) and being engaged in what they are saying. We respect experts by carefully considering their advice or insight.

This is how the concept plays out with siblings: if one sibling is teaching another how to knit, the teacher in that situation should command respect, and the child being taught should give her sibling her full attention without interrupting or arguing.

If your family is on vacation and is taking a museum tour, you show respect to the tour guide (in that case an expert) by being quiet and giving him your complete attention.

We can reinforce this concept by having our kids always approach people in higher positions, look them in the eye, shake their hand and thank them. For example, at the end of the museum tour, have each child approach the guide, shake his hand and thank him for his time.

Live By Example

Parents dishonor their kids by positioning things and processes above them.

By processes we mean your agenda. For example, you’re trying to get out the door, and your daughter is asking twenty questions; that’s an interruption of process. In that case, the focus might have to be on the process, but you can still honor her by letting her know that her questions are very important, and you will gladly answer them once you are in the car.

But when mom is hyper focused on reorganizing her closet and little Jessie comes in to show her the drawing she made, it would be dishonoring to ignore Jessie and place the importance of the process above the importance of Jessie.

Parents disrespect kids when they fail to give them the attention they deserve. When our kids are speaking, we should look them in the eye and focus on what they’re saying. If one of our kids is a mini-expert in a particular subject, we should acknowledge it and give weight to their advice and opinion when it comes to that subject. That’s modeling respect.

When it comes to respecting things, we absolutely should teach our kids to be good stewards of their belongs and the household belongings, and we definitely want to teach them to be good stewards of other people’s things, but when we put so much attention on taking care of our home or our yard that we don’t pay attention to the kids, we are disrespecting them. And we appear to value our things more than we value their feelings, we are dishonoring our kids.

So the question is, how can we honor and respect our kids AND teach them to be honoring and respectful at the same time?

Let’s say, your teen boy comes in the house with his backpack slung over his shoulder. As he walks through the kitchen, there’s a bowl on the counter. He spins around to talk to his brother and knocks the bowl on the floor, shattering it. It’s part of a set that you love, and you are upset.

  1. Stop and ask yourself what you are feeling. You might detect anger.

  2. Next, ask yourself why are feeling that way. In this case, it’s because you feel there’s an injustice. You work hard for your family. Your husband works hard to provide, and your son’s carelessness has caused a loss.

  3. Remind yourself that your child is more important than the bowl.

  4. Call your child over for discussion. REMEMBER — because your child is important, you MUST use this as a teaching and correcting opportunity. This is a teachable moment, and when we care about our kids, we don’t let these pass us by.

Questions for your child:

  1. What just happened?

  2. How did it happen?

  3. How do you think I feel about the bowl breaking?

  4. What could you have done differently to avoid that?

 You can do the same thing when a sibling disrespects another sibling’s belongings or process. But again, we have to teach our kids that the person is more important than the thing or process.

These kind of conversations let our kids know that we do value them, and they are more important than our things or what we’re doing, but it also teaches them to be honoring and respectful of people and things.

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with ten kids between them (ages 1 to 30), including one on the autism spectrum, plus one baby grandchild. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to Parent On Purpose (POP) with the end result in mind.

More Posts

Is Tattling Bad?

I think every parent has asked this question at one time or another. We want our kids to feel comfortable telling us when they have a problem, and we want them to come to us for help, but somehow we also feel like there’s something inherently wrong with tattling. So the question is, “Is tattling bad?”

When we talk about tattling, most people think of it as telling on someone. “He hit me!” But we want to be able to help when there’s a problem, so how can our kids tell us what’s happening without being a tattletale?

It’s really an issue of motive. If the child’s goal is to get the other person in trouble, it’s tattling. If the child’s motive is to get help, it’s telling.

The child’s first step should be to talk directly to the other child. Love covers a multitude of sins, and out of a love for one another, our kids should want to help each other stay out of trouble. If one kid sees another one breaking a rule, instead of running to an adult to get the kid in trouble, the first child should warn the other kid to prevent them from making a mistake. If the offending child corrects his behavior, there’s no need to tell an adult.

The exception to this is if there’s danger involved. If one child is doing something potentially dangerous, the other kid should get help right away.

If one child does something that upsets or even hurts another kid, the offended person should first vocalize her feelings. “Ouch! You hurt me.” The offender should immediately apologize and take any necessary corrective steps. If that doesn’t happen, the child who has been hurt should find an adult and get help.

Tattling vs. Telling

Just as the motive of tattling is to get someone in trouble, the motive of telling is to get help, and that’s exactly how it should be phrased.

There’s a big difference between, “He hurt me!” and “Mom, Johnny hurt me. I tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. I need your help.”

“I need your help!” are Power Words

“I need your help” are the power words here. If your daughter is at a playdate and her friend refuses to share, she should first try to talk directly to her friend. But if her friend still won’t share, she should be empowered to go to the child’s mom and say, “Mrs. Smith, Jane won’t share with me. I need your help.”

Again, the difference between tattling and asking for help is in the goal. If the goal is to get the other person in trouble, you’re tattling. Don’t allow tattling. Instead, let your kids know that you are there if they need your help. That goes back to teaching them to advocate for themselves. “Mommy, I need your help.”

How to Teach Tattling vs. Telling

Role Playing

Role playing is key to teaching this concept, especially with younger kids. On the way to a playdate, spend the entire car trip talking about potential situations and role playing different ways your kids can handle them. Kids  need us to give them the words and the tone to use in sticky situations.

Say, “So, Sally, what would you do if Jane refuses to share with you today?”

Remind her that the first step is to confront her friend directly. Help her practice using the right words and the right tone. “Jane, I’m so glad that you invited me here today. I’d like to play with the baby doll too. Would you please share with me?”

Then ask her what she’ll do if Jane refuses. Remind her NOT to say, “I’m telling your mom!” Instead, coach Sally to quietly get up and walk out of the room and go find Jane’s mom.

When she finds her say, ““Mrs. Smith, Jane won’t share with me. I need your help.”

 Conversation

On a regular basis, have conversations about what the word “motive” means. Talk about the motive behind tattling and the motive behind telling.

Play “games” in the car or when you’re making dinner or folding laundry where you give them a scenario and have them decided whether it’s an example of tattling or telling.

If you’ve got readers in your house, spend a craft day making a cute sign that says “Tattling = Getting Someone In Trouble. Telling = Getting Help.” Put the sign up in a common area to remind kids about the difference.

Then, when you catch your kids tattling, ask them, “What’s your motive? Did you remind your brother that he’s not supposed to go outside without shoes on before coming to tell me? Are you trying to get him in trouble?”

On the flip side, when you catch your kids telling, praise them. “Good job! You came to me to get help and not to get your brother in trouble. You were telling and not tattling.”

Talk about what constitutes a dangerous situation and remind kids that they have to get help whenever there’s danger involved. Give them examples of things that would require immediate help (playing with fire, jumping off high places, etc.) and things that don’t require immediate help (leaving soap on the dishes, making a mess, etc.).

If we take a proactive approach, our kids will become great at checking their motives, and they’ll probably begin to teach their friends the difference tattling and telling. Remember, the choices we make as parents can affect a whole community!

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with ten kids between them (ages 1 to 30), including one on the autism spectrum, plus one baby grandchild. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to Parent On Purpose (POP) with the end result in mind.

More Posts

What Undermines Authority?

We’re wrapping up this week’s conversation about authority in the home with a look at what undermines authority.

Yesterday we gave you a nuts-and-bolts look at what creates authority in the home. We call it The three C’s of Authority. Today, let’s take a look at three things that can undermine a parent’s authority.

Hypocrisy

The old “Do as I say, don’t do as I do” approach really doesn’t work on this generation. Perhaps more than ever before, today’s kids have a highly sensitive truth radar. They are looking for authenticity like never before, and when they spot a phony, they lose respect.

When we model the very things we’re asking of our kids, we maintain our position of authority in their eyes.

Contempt

I once heard someone say that one harsh scowl can inflict a lot of emotional pain. We have to be so careful with our tone and facial expressions and body language. If we communicate any hint of disgust or contempt toward our kids, we inflict a soul wound. And when children experience a soul wound, they begin to believe lies about their parents (i.e. “Mom doesn’t love me. I’ll never be good enough for her.”) and lies about themselves (i.e. “I’m not worthy of love and respect.”).

Not only does our contempt wound our kids, overtime it undermines our authority, especially when they begin to think, “I don’t have to listen to her. She doesn’t care about me.”

Injustice

Kids tend to see the world in black and white and because of it, they have an extra low tolerance for injustice — or what they perceive as injustice.

Jody and I often tell our kids not to expect fairness. Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20 shows us that the whole concept of fairness is not a biblical one.

I have six kids when there are couples out there desperate for just one. That’s not fair. Some people are born into wealth and others into poverty. That’s not fair. Some families lose multiple members to an early grave, while others have people living into their 100s. That’s not fair.

We live in a fallen, sinful world, and because of it, life isn’t fair. But it can be just.

Our kids are looking for justice, but when they find the opposite, they lose trust in the people who were supposed to give it.

Rules

One way to minimize a sense of injustice in your home is to have clearly defined expectations. The more clear you can be, the less wronged the child will feel.

Start by writing family rules. Rules should be

  • Short — so kids can remember them
  • Simple — so kids can understand them
  • Solid — so kids can count on them

Definitions

Clear cut definitions also help keep everyone on the same page, and give the kids a sense of justice.

Here are some of our favorites:

Obedience

Willful Disobedience – Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. We’re not talking about a mistake here. Willful disobedience is a deliberate choice to disobey without regard for consequence.

Honor v. Respect — We’ll tackle this one next week

Tattling vs. Telling — This is another one we’re going to cover next week.

The Appeal

The Appeal is a way to give our kids a voice without being disobedient or disrespectful, and it’s a great tool for helping kids feel a sense of justice in their home. We’ll tell you more about it next week.

Routines

Like definitions, routines create the kind of structure that brings peace and builds trust in kids, and trust is ESSENTIAL to authority.

Click here for more information on powerful routines. Next week, we’ll also share some practical tools for correction routines. For an effective bedtime routine that you can use with even the most stubborn sleepers, click here.

In the meantime, have a beautiful Sunday! And we’ll be back on Monday.

 

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

More Posts

The Three C’s of Authority

This week we’ve been talking about building a strong foundation of authority in the home. Yesterday, we said that it starts with a strong, intimate relationship. Now let’s talk about the real nuts and bolts of authority.

There are Three C’s of Authority:

  • Calm
  • Consistent
  • Committed

Calm

If the parents are flying off the handle, losing their temper on a regular basis, they won’t have authority. Kids (and adults for that matter) have a hard time respecting someone who has little self-control.

Everyone loses it once in a while, but it should be a rare occasion, and we should be willing to go to our kids and apologize when it happens. However, if we find ourselves apologizing often, we need to make some serious changes because we won’t have authority if we’re not calm.

Consistent

Our kids need structure. They need clearly defined boundaries, and they need to know exactly what to expect when they choose to walk outside the boundaries. They need predictability — routines and traditions that they can count on and parents who are consistent in temper, mood and habits.

Committed

Our kids need to know we are in this for the long haul. Keep in mind that sometimes, changes can take a year of consistent effort. If you’re trying to teach your kids to be excellent when they clean the kitchen, plan on working with them consistently (day in and day out) for as long as it takes to reach the goal.

If you use a Time Out method for willful disobedience, then you’ve got to be committed enough to let go of your agenda when your child needs a Time Out, even if that means hanging up the phone, canceling an appointment or changing your dinner plans.

When you’re calm, consistent and committed, you WILL have authority. We promise.

Stop by tomorrow. We’ll be talking about the things that undermine authority.

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with ten kids between them (ages 1 to 30), including one on the autism spectrum, plus one baby grandchild. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to Parent On Purpose (POP) with the end result in mind.

More Posts

Rules Without Relationship Breeds Rebellion

Yesterday we asked the question, “Does your voice have more weight in your child’s life than any other voice?” At the heart of this question is really the issue of authority. If there is going to be peace and order in any home, parents have to have authority.

Now, we’re not talking about a militant, harsh, controlling kind of authority.

The dictionary defines authority as “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience”

When it comes to families, what we mean is the children’s willingness to recognize and submit to the family rules and to the parents’ wisdom, decisions and advice.

At the core, having authority means that your voice has weight.

We believe this is foundational to everything else. The parents’ voice has to be stronger and clearer and more important than any other voice in the lives of kids!

This is not about controlling your kids. It’s grooming them to willingly recognize and respect authority throughout their life, and it’s about cultivating in them a teachable spirit, so that as they grow, they will willingly seek out and heed wise counsel — beginning with yours.

And it all starts with a strong relationship.

Rules without relationship breeds rebellion

Above ALL else, our kids need to know that we love the snot out of them! In fact, we adore them. We always have their back, and we always have their best interest at heart. Not our best interest for them. Remember, our kids are not an extension of ourselves. They are their own unique individuals. They have to believe that we recognize and respect their individuality and that we want what’s best based on who they are and who they will become.

Conversation is King

DAILY conversation is KEY to having authority! We don’t mean a once a week check-in. We’re talking a free flowing line of communication about what they’re thinking and what they’re feeling on a daily basis.

So, if your boy has a crush on a girl, you shouldn’t hear about it from someone else or on Instagram. The goal is to be the FIRST person your boy tells.

Once you develop intimacy, your children will automatically begin to come to you first with issues. Trust is born out of intimacy and out of a history of successful conversations. If they feel like you’re their constant critic, you won’t have intimacy.

What Does Intimacy Look Like?

Intimacy is honest. If we are not honest with them, eventually, they will smell it, and they will no longer come to us to find truth. They’ll turn to their friends or to the Internet.

Intimacy is transparent and vulnerable. Transparency opens the door to authenticity. When our kids know that we are authentic people who make mistakes and can own our mistakes, they begin to realize that they don’t have to be perfect; they just need to be responsible.

Talk openly about everything, no matter how embarrassing or uncomfortable it may be, even with the opposite sex child. TALK ABOUT IT! They have to know that they can come to you with anything. Because if they can’t come to you, they will go to their friends, and soon their friends’ opinions will begin to carry more weight than yours.

Intimacy is invested. Be genuinely interested in what they have to say, no matter how immaterial, boring or far fetched it seems. The second they get a whiff of, “she’s not listening to me” or “she doesn’t care about this,” they will begin to look elsewhere for someone who WILL listen and be vested in them.

Moms and dads of younger kids: if you want your voice to have more weight when they’re older, their voice has to have more weight in your life now. Where are you placing your attention? On them or on the phone? On the TV? On the computer? On your work? On your ministry? On your social life?

Intimacy takes time. We’ve all heard the big quantity vs. quality question. It’s not either/or, it’s both. We need to spend a large quantity of quality time with our kids — time that is FUN for us and for them. If you hate make-believe play, then don’t try to play Barbies or have a tea party. Find stuff you like to do, and do that instead. Ride bikes, do craft projects, cook, read, play board games. If you’re having fun, they will feel it, and if you’re not, they’ll feel that too.

Building a strong and intimate relationship with our kids is the first step toward having real authority in their lives.

Come back tomorrow. We’re going to talk about The Three C’s of Authority.

 

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with ten kids between them (ages 1 to 30), including one on the autism spectrum, plus one baby grandchild. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to Parent On Purpose (POP) with the end result in mind.

More Posts

Does Your Voice Have Weight?

Whose voice has the most weight in your child’s life?

Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

The Hebrew word for honor in this verse is  kabad, which means “to give weight.”  When Jody and I first discovered this, it was quite the aha! moment.

Our voices must carry the most weight in our children’s lives. More weight than their friends’ voices. More weight than Facebook. More weight than what they see on TV or listen to on their iPods. What we think should mean more to our kids than what their followers on Instagram and Tumblr think.

Stay tuned for the next few posts because we’re going to talk more about this and how this is really the core of what it means to have authority in our homes.

 

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

More Posts

Sarcastic vs. Facetious

Ever been in this situation? You’re with a group of friends and someone says something “funny” directed at you, but instead of laughing, you feel a sting. Everyone else seems to think it’s funny, so you wonder if you’re just being a bad sport. But the truth is, you feel wounded.

If you’ve experienced something like this, chances are good you’ve been the victim of sarcasm. And as much as our society wants to dupe you into thinking it’s just another form of humor, it’s not. It’s mean spirited, and that’s why it stings when you’re on the receiving end of it.

Sarcastic by definition means “sharp or bitter; a sneering or cutting remark.”

It’s been said that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. It’s intent is to get laughs at someone else’s expense. It targets the weak, the sensitive and the inarticulate. It may be funny to other people, but it’s not funny to the victim.

Sarcasm often feeds the ego of the one spewing it, but the truth is, it’s dishonoring. It pushes someone else down to build the other up. If a person can only be witty at someone else’s expense, it shows a lack of creativity and maturity .

Facetious, on the other hand, means “not meant to be taken seriously or literally (an element of humor).”

The English language is full of commonly confused words. We have a highly creative language with many different words to express one general idea. Finding the right one means understanding the subtle shadings of the different choices. Sarcastic and facetious may both have to do with humor, but they are not interchangeable. Sarcastic words sting, but facetious words are lighthearted.

I once heard it said that facetiousness is a joke with a wink, but sarcasm is a joke with a tongue sticking out.

When I was younger, I had the habit of sarcasm myself. I was a hurting girl not wanting anyone to focus on my shortcomings. It was much easier to direct the attention onto someone who was defenseless.

As an adult, I once gently confronted someone who was very sarcastic to me. The person turned to me and said, “You’re being sarcastic too.” It caused me to dig deep and search myself to see if I was still sarcastic. Nope. I realized that the person had a wrong definition and didn’t understand the heart with which they were trying to be funny.

So, the rule of thumb in the Hagaman and Stahlmann homes is this: if you are laughing at someone else’s expense, causing them any amount of pain, it’s sarcasm, and it’s not allowed.

On the flip side, we want to raise lighthearted kids who are not riddled with pride and don’t take themselves too seriously. So when someone’s pride is injured by a truly innocent attempt at fun, we remind the offended person that the joke was genuinely meant to be facetious and not sarcastic.

We recently had a situation that illustrates what I mean. One of our kids fell asleep on the couch at a family gathering and a bunch of people took pictures of her sleeping. At first, she was tempted to be offended, but as long as no one intended to use those pictures to hurt her (i.e. posting them online or making fun of her with them), there was no need to be angry. Her family was not trying to make her feel bad. For her to have been offended about it would have only fed pride and vanity. The truth was, they just thought she looked cute and wanted to capture the moment. At the end of the day, it’s all about motive.

Knowing the difference between facetiousness and sarcasm can spare hurt feelings, prevent fights and save relationships. Once again, we find great power in definitions!

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 18 to 30 and one precious baby grandchild. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired
tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan
organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy.

As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation.

She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

More Posts

Curfew or No Curfew

When I was a kid the coveted curfew was 1:00 A.M. Most kids had to be home by midnight. But, once in a while, you’d have the friend who didn’t have to be home until one in the morning. THAT was the lucky kid!

You just felt like those parents “got it”. They understood the need to “hang out”, even though everything was closed and shut down for the night. Those parents weren’t trying to control their teen, they weren’t trying to ruin all their fun. They understood that it was tough trying to stay included in the “in crowd” and not look like a baby to your friends. They just seemed to be the cool parents. And I didn’t have them!

My parent’s mantra was, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” They probably should have said 10 P.M.  LOL!

Well, a lot of time has passed since those days and wisdom and maturity have set in. Thank goodness.

When my son hit the teen years, I knew I had to figure out how to fix the curfew conundrum. So, I went where I could get the wisest answer on the subject. The Bible. Here’s what I found.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child (Prov 22:15). Fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov 1:7). And the companion of fools will suffer harm (Prov 13:20). So, to put it simply:  Foolish kids + hating wisdom & instruction = HARM!

This is definitely NOT what I wanted for my kid! What parent knowingly wants that? None that I can think of. I wanted my boy to have fun memories with his friends and do silly things (without suffering harm). So, I prayed.

The answer was really quite simple.

I had already laid the groundwork with great communication with Chase (which is key to any success with your kiddos). We had already sown much of the Word in him and watered it frequently. Now, it was time for it to take root. This is where I leaned on God. A LOT!

Instead of giving Chase a curfew and allowing him free roam to do whatever the “fools” suggested, our permission looked a little more like this: We always had to know where he was, who he was with, what adults were or were not around and what activity was going on.

Whenever he was going to leave one place to go to another, he had to call or text (and today cell phones with tracking devices are a Godsend!). We insisted on knowing who was in the car with him and what TV show or movie they were watching. And, if we didn’t agree with a time, place or people he was with, he had to make a different choice. Mom and dad were still the boss.

He never felt infringed upon or deprived. He felt empowered to make choices, be mature and lead the group. Often HE would change the plan on them. He typically had the car and didn’t have a curfew. He WAS the cool kid with the cool parents. The other kids didn’t know he was texting me their every move.  BRILLIANT!

GOD was brilliant in this! He saw what I didn’t see. He knew that there was a way for Chase to be true to his convictions without looking like an outcast to his friends. Like most of our kids, deep down in their hearts they don’t want to misbehave or make wrong choices, but peer pressure is rough. Give them a way out.

Our younger two are teens now. This has been the best system for us. We had a situation where one of our daughters was in a compromising position with friends and adults. It was because of this method that I was able to stay connected with her through the entire ordeal. It was a great teachable moment. I was able to coach her through the situation as it was happening.

When other parents ask about our kids’ curfews, we tell them, “They don’t have a curfew.” It baffles some, but it works.

On a side note, if you are dealing with a child who isn’t being honest with you, you have a whole different issue to deal with before implementing the no curfew method.

This is such a great topic to discuss as parents. We’d love to hear your comments or questions.

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 18 to 30 and one precious baby grandchild. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired
tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan
organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy.

As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation.

She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

More Posts