Practical Parenting Tips for Discipling Kiddos–Part 2

I said I’d take her to the store that day to look for jeans. When it was nearing time to go, I checked in to make sure she’d gotten her homework and job done (some people call them “chores,” but we call them “jobs,” as chores sound loathing; everyone has a job to do). Nope; it wasn’t finished. It’s the parent’s right to change his or her plan, based on new information (or so I understood years ago from a book authored by a Christian psychologist). I wanted to teach my kiddo responsibility, so…plans changed; we didn’t go to the store.

My mindset got rocked a bit when I watched a Q & A session with Dr. Kathy Koch, which followed her talk titled “Secure Children’s Hearts to Unlock Their Potential” (I referred to this in the last post, which is worth checking out!). Parents were encouraged to follow through on our promises, even if something negative (like a job not being done) follows…It shows our kids unconditional love, like God’s, as well as faithfulness, rather than “love” based on behavior.

Below are more tips on discipling kiddos’ hearts from that Q & A session. These are just my notes…a snapshot, but I hope you’ll still be blessed (watch the video at the end of this post to catch Dr. Kathy’s full Q & A session!).

LET YOUR LOVE COMPEL YOU, NOT THE FACT THAT YOU LOOK LIKE THEM
  • Go TO them. INITIATE conversation; it honors them.
  • Say, “I love you too much to argue with you,” or “I love you too much to let you continue talking to me that way.”
OFFER SPECIFIC PRAISE, NOT JUST THAT THEY’RE “GOOD”
  • Focus the praise on WHO THEY ARE, not on the related behavior.
  • Say, “You’re BEing so kind!” rather than “You’re such a good girl! That was nice that you smiled at her, even though she’s been so mean to you,” or “You’re BEing so diligent!” rather than “Good boy for finishing that!”
CORRECT; DON’T CRITICIZE

* “Correct” means “put wrong right.”

  • Specifically share how to make a wrong right.
  • Say, “You’re BEing _____________; try _____________ next time” (i.e., “You’re BEing careless; try moving everything on the counter when you’re wiping it down to make sure the counter gets clean. Dust and dirt gets trapped under things, too. If you move the things on the counter, you’ll BE extra careful.”).

* “Criticize” means “point out wrong.”

  • There is no such thing as “constructive criticism!”
  • Don’t use nouns; IDENTITY controls BEHAVIOR.
  • Don’t say, “You ARE _______________.”
PROVIDE EVIDENCE THAT YOU’RE RIGHT
  • Say, “I know, because _____________” (i.e., I know you’re BEing untruthful…and even deceitful, because I heard you say, “_______________,” to your sister; you just told me the opposite.”
  • Evidence doesn’t lie.
  • We HAVE to have current evidence; we can’t base our assessment on past behaviors. Otherwise, we don’t let them change; we just stick the child in their past.
  • Make sure what we’re teaching as “right” is according to SCRIPTURE, not our own opinion!
FEEL IT BEFORE FIXING IT
  • Humble ourselves.
  • Ask, “How can I help you?” or “What do you need?”
  • Remember our tone of voice, time of day, etc. Boys will talk more when they can avoid our eyes; the dinner table is not the best place to have a serious conversation with them. Go for a drive with them, take a walk, etc.
  • Talk about forgiving them for the choice they made.
  • Say thank you more often.

There is SO MUCH here that I’ve been learning and re-learning…SO much I’m trying to marinate on and put into practice! One way is that I tend to fix it and then feel it; in fact, as I’m typing this, I’ve been called out on the timing of when I brought something up to one of my kiddos. Ouch. Point taken! Humility: the exercise of the day!…With the tips above heavy on my heart, I went into the kitchen, where my kiddo was, waited for the right moment, gently held both hands, and began to share how God has forgiven me numerous times for speaking out of anger; because He’s forgiven me, I’m choosing to forgive, too. Then, I asked for forgiveness for focusing more on what needed to be done than choosing a better time to address the issue…Walls of defense, frustration, anger? They all crumbled…visibly. Humility, forgiveness, truth? They, by God’s mercy, restored a beautiful connection.

I’m truly a work in progress! Thank you, LORD, for loving me enough to correct me!

WEIGHING IN

Do any of these tips resonate with you? If so, which one(s)? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment at the top of this post or a reply at the bottom of the post.

Would you be courageous enough to share an example where God’s way brought about something beautiful?

NEXT POST: MORE NOTES & APPLICATIONS FROM DR. KATHY‘S Q & A!
WATCH THE Q & A

If you have the time to take in the full Q & A session with Dr. Kathy, check it out below.

Q & A session begins at the 53:00 mark (it follows Dr. Kathy’s speech).

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