We've have been dealing with some behavioral issues lately with the kids. Especially, with our oldest, Derek. He has been having, what I would describe as fits of rage. And strange things would set him off, like when Ronnie and I would tickle or rough house with each other or the girls. He acted as if he was protecting one of us, but he couldn't seem to control his anger. He also lashed out if anyone joked with him in public, such as people at church asking him if they could take his baby sister home for awhile. I was really starting to think something was pyscholgically wrong with him. I just kept playing horror stories over in my head of teenagers who have acted out in violence because they couldn't control their temper.
I was just about to my wits end and had been pouring my heart out to the preacher's wife, a couple of friends, and my mother. The preacher's wife, Laura, text me during Christmas break and said she had picked up a little something for me at the Bible Book Store while she was there the other day. It was a small phamplet called Help! My Toddler Rules the House! It was completely a God thing! She opened the front page and the first sentence says, "Are you ready to contact a psychiatrist?" And after our previous conversation, she said "Ok, God, I'll get it for Amanda."
It was the smallest self-help book I'd ever seen. I read it in about an hour. But it was filled with the best advice I've ever been given! The jist of the book is 7 Rules to Spanking. And come to find out, no wonder I've had trouble with him, I've been doing it all wrong!!! (according the book anyway:)
If you're having any problem with your child's behavior you definately need to read this. But I'll go ahead and tell you what I've learned and am learning.
~ This is personal preference to me, but the book stands behind the idea of using the "rod" as the bible repeats over 5 times, instead of your hand. The authors refer the the idea of your hand being a tool of love and affection.
Here's where I was messing up.
~ Give one warning, and if the disobediance happens again hand out a punishment. This is where I definately have struggled and am working earnestly to fix. I give them warning after warning after warning, because it truly does hurt me more to spank them or take something away from them. However, by dishing out a punishment after only one warning elimnates me from breaking one of the 7 rules, which is Never Spank out of Anger. The book goes into detail how if we continually give our children warnings for the same act of disobediance that we finally punish them because we have now made ourselves upset by their deliberate disobediance.
~ The other area I never gave any thought but makes perfect sence, is the idea of reconciling. The book suggests that after spanking, then hold your child in love. Because scripture never once tells us that God casts us away into isolation. So we should not do the same with our children. The authors feel strongly about not sending them to their room "to think about what they have done" after their punishment, but rather to hold them and talk and pray about what they have done and ask for forgiveness.
The book also recommends expecting brokeness, when spanking it should hurt and the child should cry, because just as sinners, our sin does hurt and we should feel remorse for our actions. However, we should never fight against God for our punishment and neither should our children. The authors write that your child is to learn never to fight you or their punishment or the punishment will only grow or become worse. As far as spanking, if they fight it, they will only get more. They also write that you explain to your child they may cry, but they may night scream or cry angrily after punishment, which at first I thought was crazy, but as crazy as it sounds, Derek has actually followed through with this just fine!
I never really imagined structured spanking would work with Derek, especially thinking something deeper was wrong with him. But he has not had a raging fit since I started using the points in the book!!!! Which is a complete turn around. Now we are working on joyful obediance, which I realize will probably be a long haul for us, but it's something I feel they definately need to obey. And hopefully all the whining that goes on in our house, will disappear as they tackle this new concept too! Pray for me to handle this with self-control and not to loose my temper myself.