This past summer I wrote a series called Early Grammar Stage Focus. In it, I took a close look at the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10 from Trivium Pursuit and challenged myself to do better in the areas that they highlight. It is been a few months, and school is in full swing, so I want to check back in and see how I have done in each of the areas. Every few weeks I will re-visit one of the 10 topics, so come back for more!
You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.
Today we are going to re-visit the subject of Discipline. If you didn't see the original post in the summer, or just need a refresher, take a minute to go read it first.
In the original post, we talked about why discipline is so important. If your children do not obey you, you cannot expect to get much done in the day. Especially if you are homeschooling, where you really do need to get a ton done each day.
As I looked back on the first post about discipline, I noticed that I didn't set any goals, so I don't have anything to check back in on...bummer!
I can tell you that our form of discipline has changed a bit in the past year. This is mostly because Trevor is nearing 5 years old and as children grow, they think differently and respond differently. Most of the things that he gets in trouble for is not thinking of others (namely his sister) and not following instructions. The following instructions part is not so much disobedience as it is distraction and not focusing. We work on that every day, but not in a disciplinary way. If there is punishment, it might be in the form of extra work (like if he gets distracted and doesn't help clean up with his sister, she gets to stop and he has to tidy up extra).
We are trying to focus a lot on virtues these days. The past few weeks we have been talking about Humility and Love. We printed out a few of the pictures from Blue Manor Education's free Book of Virtues and read them multiple times a day. We talk about thinking of others ahead of ourselves, not drawing attention to ourselves, and encouraging others. Sometimes when Trevor does not act in these ways, he has to spend time by himself in his room. We really want to have a great atmosphere in our home and if he (or anyone!) doesn't want to act nicely and respectfully, he gets to hang out by himself for a little while until he is ready to enjoy family life again.
With Mackenzie, we are trying to be consistent with her, but honestly it is harder with the second child. Also, she has always been a really enjoyable child, so it's easier to let something slide when she does disobey. We do need to work on that. There are a few areas that she has been struggling in lately, and we have been trying to be more consistent in her discipline as to stop the bad habits before they root too deep.
Last post, I talked about how important it is for the parent to be in control of themselves when administering any form of discipline. I am happy to report that, by the grace of God, I have been doing really well in this area. I have been trying to whisper instead of yell, be the adult instead of acting like a child in my reactions, and bestow more grace. My husband is a wonderful example of this and I am thankful to be able to learn from him. Obedience is very important, but even more important is being loving and extending grace.
I still have a lot to work on, but we are learning every day and hopefully we will raise wonderful children in the end =)
I'd love any advice you might have to share. What kind of discipline methods have you used as your 'babies' started growing into older children? How do you actively display grace while still requiring obedience? How do you work on capturing your children's hearts so that they love to please you and discipline is less of an issue?