I haven't had much time to commit to reading this book. But, Daniel and I have put into practice a few of the principals that we have read through. Sarah is fighting all of this and some days it's exhausting. She loses privileges whenever she gets disrespectful with Daniel and I. She doesn't get second chances, but we do warn her when we see that she's starting to get the point where disrespect normally occurs. Sometimes this helps her change course.
One point in the book that's been interesting to try is ignoring her outbursts after she's been given an instruction. Since we got the first part down pat, Daniel and I have added this in. This Sunday, we got a full dose of how it works. Sarah has a bad habit of complaining that she doesn't want anything we have for breakfast. It's to the point that nothing will satisfy her unless she gets to go out and each (which we only do at a maximum of once a week). She makes a big production with all the huffs and moans about not liking cereal, pancakes, toast, you name it, etc.
Sunday, I told her to grab some breakfast bread and a yogurt for breakfast. She did the "that's not good enough" routine. I told her to grab a granola bar instead. We were going to be late for church. That wasn't good enough either. Instead of engaging in an argument, we told her to eat what we offered or go hungry. She started working on another production about how we needed to listen to her and do what she wanted. I looked at her and calmly stated that she was not getting breakfast and that we were headed for church. Well, suddenly the stuff we told her to get seemed appealing. She grabbed the bread bag and I told her not to eat any of it. Then the talk back began and Daniel and I ignored all of it. This only seemed to enrage her.
Sarah followed us around as we were getting the last bit of stuff ready for church making a production of how she was going to eat the bread. I told her that if she didn't listen the punishment would move to lunch and then moved on to my next task. By the time we walked out of the door, we had not argued with Sarah once. She was extremely upset with us because we were ignoring her outbursts and determined that she was not going to talk with us anymore.
Later, when things calmed down, we told Sarah that we were not going to engage in arguments with her. She either ate breakfast without complaining or she would miss that meal. We also told her that we would not argue with her about something she was told to do. As of today, I have not received one complaint about a meal since Sunday. It was a hard lesson for her, but one that will help her to appreciate all of that she has been given.
Now, for those of you who read this and think that their is no way your kid would do that, I encourage you to look at your daily lives and see just where your child seems to control things. Do they throw tantrums at the store when they don't get their way? Do they not come home when you call them repeatedly? Do they give you an attitude or disrespectful looks when you ask them to do something around the house? Do they complain about things never being good enough? All of these seemingly little things are acts of rebellion against your parental authority. Not acknowledging them tends to lead toward larger acts of disobedience. In addition to letting them slide constantly, you are letting your child sin with your knowledge. As Christian parents, we are obligated to discipline our children when they step outside God's will. This not only builds respect for the parent, it helps to build your child's character. More importantly, it models the relationship that we adults have with God.
As for Sarah, Daniel and I couldn't be blessed with a kinder, smarter, more loving daughter. Daniel and I watch her with her little brother and see the wonderful bond they already have. She loves the outdoors and exploring nature. She cares deeply for her family and really does want to please. We can see what a great leader she will be one day. But, she is a strong willed child and does have her moments!
I hope that sharing our experiences with our kids will encourage you!
Giving Up Flour and Eating Fried Bread by Ree
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