This is the continued letter that I received from a precious young momma. The first section is listed as, A Moment with M.O.M. - mommies wear armor too. May our homes reflect His grace!
Question- "There are times when it is obvious when a child is outright disobeying, but I'm just not clear on the gray areas. Most days feel like absolute chaos, where I'm constantly reminding someone of a rule. How long do you have to train before its disobeying? And how in the world do I start when there are so many things going wrong?"
How long you train a child varies from one child to the next and from one situation to the next. It keeps us dependant on God and seeking His Wisdom. Take time to consider one thing that is bringing "chaos" to your home and tackle it as the Lord leads. Make sure you pray about this- the Lord will show you what to require of your children and when. Parenting our children takes a great deal of prayer, guidance, energy and effort! We don't just roll out of bed and take the day as it comes. We must be purposeful and prayerful about each requirement in the home!
With that said, once you train a child in a rule then you must discipline them if they refuse to obey that rule. They can't be allowed to keep "forgetting" that rule.
I would start by giving them the directive: "You can stay up and have quiet time while the other children nap however, you must be quiet during that time."
Then I would train them:
I would explain to them that when the home is quiet for nap time even "small" noises sound loud. I would show them the things in the room that would make much too much noise during nap time. I would ask questions, "Do you think this toy is quiet or noisy?" As much as possible try and let them think out which items are not meeting your 'quiet time' requirements.
To give them a visual reminder you may want to purchase some colored labels (they make colored dots and those work best). Have the child put a red dot on the items they should not chose during quiet time and put a green dot on the toys that are okay to use.
Offer them encouragement as needed- we all need encouragement in well doing! Show them the 'quiet things' such as read a book, draw, color, write out Scriptures and so forth. You may even want to have a plastic container of 'quiet toys' that are only allowed to be played with during this time. Change the items on a regular basis to offer variety and keep the container special. I use to have shoe boxes with toys by theme. I would store them and rotate in our home as needed. Doing this kept 'old' toys new. The children's faces would light up each time I brought out 'new' toys and would often have fun memories to recall!
If the child refused to obey the directive after I had carefully trained them then I must discipline them:
For this example, I would insist they take a nap every day until I felt they had learned their lesson. When they asked me if they had to take a nap or for how many days they must take a nap, I would tell them that I will have to wait for the Lord to show me when they have learned to obey my voice. I would encourage them that by obeying me cheerfully and taking the nap I can see that they will obey me and the 'quiet time' rules.
Please remember the suggestions I am giving you are real life suggestions that we have done here in our home. However, they are only suggestions. You need to pray and ask the Lord how He wants you to minister to your family and train your children in godliness.
Because of His Grace,
Mrs. Joseph Wood