My sister called me up a few weeks ago just raving about this new book she was reading. My discipling was in a rut. Spankings and time outs just weren't reaching Josiah any more. He'd take his punishment and go on his merry way without any heart change whatsoever. So, I was all ears for any new suggestions. Stacie told me the premise of this book was to go after your child's heart instead of just behavior modification. She also promised this would help me get control of my anger which has a tendency to flare up way more often than I'd like.
Here's some great stuff I copied from my sister's blog. If you've already read her blog, skip to the end for my testimony.
I'll start with an amazing analogy that the authors had...You go into a showroom to buy a car. You are about ready to take it for a spin. You open the door and the door falls off! You are surprised and you get angry. "How dare they put this thing in car in the showroom! It should be a finished product!" Now, if you were working on the assembly line and the door fell off, what would you do? Would you get angry and upset or would you simply go get the tools to fix it? Too many parents (including me) are expecting a "showroom child" when in reality they are still on the "assembly line"! We are getting angry because kids are being kids. My goodness, I'm an adult and I still make stupid mistakes. How much more will our kids? And yes, it's frustrating when they do the same dumb things over and over and over. But we are training them and we have to remember that they are going to do those things. So stop losing our cool every time it happens.
The second major point that I have found to be the key to my child's heart is the "Break and Questions method". Say your child just hit his brother. Instead of getting angry and yelling at the child or spanking the child, you tell the child to go take a "Break". A Break is different then a time out. The child can come out as soon as he is ready to return to you and go over the "Questions". I have one kid that stays in for 20 minutes cooling off, I have another that is in laying on his bed for less then a minute and he is ready. Each child is different. The key is this: Their attitudes need to be teachable and all disrespect and blaming others must not be present or they return to "Break". This keeps you calm as well. When they return to you, this is what you ask: 1. What did you do wrong? This gives them the opportunity to confess and repent of their sin. 2. Why is that wrong? Sometimes they may not know and need help with it. This is your teaching time. I always bring up what the Bible says about the behavior they just displayed. For example; "Just because your brother took your toy doesn't give you the right to hit or scream at him. Two wrongs do not make it right." 3. What could you do differently next time? This makes them think! If they don't know, help give them the tools that they need to be successful with whatever problem is occurring. 4. Positive Conclusion: This is how God treats the human race throughout history. He chastens us, but when we repent, He always gives us hope! We need to be giving our kids hope that they can change. Most of the time I do this by saying, "Jessica, I know you can do better next time!" or "Your tone of voice has improved a lot in the last week, let's keep working on it, O.K.?" Many times there still needs to be consequences because of their behavior, but they accept them without getting so angry because I'm not angry. Instead I choose to be sad for them.
OK, so here's my testimony:
Not only have I been MUCH calmer using this method, I'm seeing amazing results in my child. I see him actually caring about what he's doing to others and himself. He's been so much more affectionate and loving lately. This is all in response to me and the way I'm handling him with respect, love and kindess. This does not mean I'm letting him get away with bad behavior. In fact he's getting way with way less than he was. If I tell him to go on break and he throws a fit or says something mean, after he's calm, we'll address the reason he had to go on break, but then I make him practice going on break until he can do it without saying anything. Honestly, it was a lot of work at first. But this "training period" is already starting to pay off. One time I had to send him on break probably 15 times, but I stuck with it and by the end, he was singing a different tune.
I have a great example of this of how this works even in public. We went to Walmart a couple of days ago. Josiah was really excited because he had earned some money and wanted to spend it. We decided to hit the toy section last, which as you can imagine, didn't go over well with Josiah. As we got near the toy section, Josiah decided to break ranks. We decided to let him. I watched him, just out of his sight for about 5 minutes. He really thought he was getting away with it. I let him have a little time to browse and pick out what he wanted. I walked up to him and asked him the three questions. Of course he wanted to tell me all about what he wanted to buy. I stuck to the three questions. After he had answered them to my satifaction, I calmly applied the consequences. I told him he wouldn't be allowed to spend his money at the store this time because of his disobedience. Of course, he threw a fit. He kept whining about it, so Michael took him out to the car for a break. On the way home, he was crying for little bit, but then I heard him say, "I should have obeyed"! In my heart, I was so thrilled to hear those words. I didn't have to tell him that, he figured it out on his own! Praise God!
This book has really given me another wonderful tool in my parenting tool box. I can't stop telling people about bit ecause it is changing the atmosphere of our home so much. When I get angry, I'm starting to put myself on break. When I feel myself losing it, I'm starting to catch myself and make my kids leave the room so I can calm down. It is working! Our home is so much more positive.
So check out the front cover of this book at the top of my post for more info. My sis said the authors also have their own website with testimonials.