Question: Dear Jeanette-would you please be willing to share some examples of the consequences you implemented for the offending offense with the if then chart? Maybe some training examples in each also. Thank you for any insight you can offer. Thank you again for any information you feel led to share. Blessings upon your family....
Answer: The “If Then Chart” and “Blessing Chart” by Doorposts has been used in our home since my oldest boy was only four years of age. I must stress that I don’t believe it is fair or even right to use the “If then Chart” and not use the “Blessing” chart. Both charts must be used, in my opinion, to represent a true Biblical example to the children. The passage of Scripture that I used often with the children when we would go over our charts is found in Deuteronomy chapter 28. I encourage you to read through that and consider how God was the creator of the ultimate “If then” and “Blessing” Chart! You had included several topics in your question for me. I am going to go through and write down a few of those for you. I will include the things we have done over the years. In our home, now that the children are older, we include them when we chose the reward/consequence of each action. These charts were a wonderful tool that brought about growth in our home on so many levels. I pray that the Lord will bless you as you seek Him in all your child training!
Keep in mind that these have changed over the years. Here are just a few things the children could remember as some of the consequences we’ve used in the past:
*Arguing/complaining/whining not allowed to talk. We talk about the passage that says, “do all things without complaining and arguing.” If complaining is between siblings we will have the work on a project together until they can do so in a team fashion with joy.
*Teasing/picking fights/causing trouble had to clean toilets- we take this from the Proverbs that says strife is as the “releasing of water” we always talk about how we would run out of the room if someone was going to pee on us and we should do the same thing if we see someone trying to engage us in a fight.
*Hitting/biting/kicking/throwing I truthfully have never had a child act like this but I think it’s because I ‘catch’ it before it becomes a problem. Hitting, biting, kicking and throwing are reactions of frustration. Therefore we do a lot of communicating so that people aren’t frustrated and acting out like this.
*Stealing toys, books, or other items from someone: Must give it back plus more.
*Lying I also give my children lots of time to tell the truth.I understand that they might need me to talk them through a situation so they can find the courage to tell the truth. I will often say, “remember telling the truth when it is easy is not being a truthful person. A truthful person will tell the truth even when they know they will get in trouble.” I give them many opportunities to tell the truth even when I might know what the truth is. When I have a child that struggles in this area I talk to them about how lies destroy our relationship. When they lie what they are saying is that they don’t care enough about our relationship to tell me the truth. I will question everything they say. When they say, “I love you” I will say.. “now is that the truth or is that a lie too?” when they say they would like milk for breakfast I will ask the same thing, “is that the truth or is that a lie too?” The child has become frustrated in the past and I ask, “oh, do you do something different when you tell the truth that I should look for? A special twitch or something.” Soon, they realize the gravity of lying and how it truly unravels our relationship. I will show them how I can’t tell what’s the truth and what’s the lie. I have to be able to trust that my children will tell me the truth even when it’s hard. Note: This also means that when my children tell me the truth and it’s ‘ugly’ I can’t overreact. I have to remain calm and prayerful in my response and tell them I am thankful they told the truth. That doesn’t mean they don’t have consequences for their actions but it’s not as bad as it would have been had they lied about it.
*Defiance/rebellion against authority I begin working with children when they are young about this topic. We teach our little ones to listen and respect the wisdom of their brothers and sisters. We are always talking about how God placed you as child number (whatever it might be) for a reason. We are always working on good leadership skills. Training older children to not be dictators and what Biblical leaders look like. We teach the younger to submit to the older with joy and how they can help the older child by cheerfully obeying.
*Name calling/foolish or evil speech Don’t get dessert.
*Disrespect/rude behavior/poor manners We do lots of role playing with manners. My children can tell you stories of some of the funny moments those training moments brought about.
*Irreverent behavior at church We teach the children how to act at Church by the way they act at home. We have a time each day (we have always had this time since our children were infants) when the house becomes quiet and mommy reads. My children learn to sit still without talking in this time. I train them to sit and be quiet at home so when we go to church it’s no problem. I often had people come to me and ask how all my children are so quiet in church. I always replied, “They weren’t born that way. It’s from lots of practice at home.” At our home we have a time for loud play and a time for quietness.
I hope some of these ideas have helped you. I am confident the Lord will lead you perfectly!
Mrs. Joseph Wood