A Soft Word

“And ye fathers, (and mothers I believe) provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
I was reading my daily proverb this morning, and right off the bat, the first verse caught my attention. It reads:
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
Immediately my mind went to the verse in Ephesians chapter 6. We as parents are told not to provoke our children to wrath. This verse is telling us how to turn away wrath. We can avoid provoking our children to wrath by using soft words with them.
“What??? Soft words??? My children don’t listen to me when I speak softly to them! I always find myself getting louder and sterner and just plain madder when they continuously ignore me!” You may be thinking. Dear mother, don’t you think that they are getting angry right back at you when you get angry with them??? I think we all need another method of getting those kiddos attention don’t you agree?
I’m so with you, I can so relate! When it comes to trying to get my kids to do almost anything I feel like it’s like trying to “nail jello to a tree.” They just don’t cooperate!
I’m reading a very informative and helpful book called, “The Strong Willed Child.” By Dr. James Dobson. Although I do not agree with all of his methods of discipline, I do agree with this one foundational truth. Discipline needs to be immediate if it is going to be affective. Many of us parents, mom’s especially, tend to give our kiddos way to many warnings which only leads us to anger and frustration towards them when they continually disobey. This sort of method of discipline only breeds for anger and frustration on both parties, and doesn’t help with the child/parent relationship in the long run.
So how else are we to handle these types of situations you ask? Well here are some ideas:
1. Make sure to stop and get your little ones attention before giving them instructions. Some kiddos are harder than others, especially very young and hyper boys, I ask my 3 year old this “Josiah, where are mommy’s eyes?” When he looks and points at them, then I say, “good, now look at them while mommy talks to you.” Then when I know I have his attention I give the instruction.
2. I also learned that it helps to give the consequence for disobeying at the same time as I give the instruction.
3. This one is the hard part. DO NOT EXTEND MERCY!!! If the child doesn’t follow through with the instruction, then give them the consequence immediately. Do not give them a warning, because that only teaches them that the line is drawn after the warning, not when they disobey.
4. If you are still having problems, it’s good to consider the instruction. Is this task something the child is fully capable to do without my help? Sometimes we need to help them along in creative ways so that they can learn and grow. Here is an example:
My children are all very young, under the age of 4. They have ALOT of toys. We really strive to keep somewhat order to our house on a regular basis, so because of that we have the kids clean up toys everyday before naptime and bedtime. I like to be able to say, “ok now is time to clean up”, and not have to chase them around for 2 hours trying to get them to do it… so I got creative and came up with a solution. I divided all their toys by types. (Ex. Cars and trains, blocks, doll stuff, potato head, dress up, baby stuff, tools etc.) I put all the small toys in little clear bins and place them up high in the closet. My kids have to ask for a bin in order to play with it, and can’t have more then 2 out at a time. This helps to make the clean up task a little easier for them.
I hope these tips help. I know it is a struggle and that it is easy to get in the rut of yelling at our kids and spouting off instructions like an angry drill sargent, but mom, when we do that we are not really nurturing them, we are angering them.

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