Gramma Speaks: How Discipline Can Build Relationship With Your Children

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Meet Gramma Louise:

Louise is always full of wise words and creative parenting solutions. She also happens to be my mother-in-law. That being said, her impact on my parenting started even as far back as her mothering my husband.

David and Louise had four children, two girls and then two boys. The children are now all in their 40’s and 50’s but continue to benefit from the foundational training in their lives. Though adults with their own families, the children of David and Louise have continued to be friends with one another and maintain mutually supportive relationships with their family.

The following post has been created from the interview and testimony of Gramma Louise as she reflects on her parenting years.

Know Your Children

Knowing your child and their interests takes spending time with him or her. It is very rewarding for all involved and reaps lasting relationships when you make it a goal to notice and value each of your children.

We are a reading family. I always made it my goal to read what my children were reading. My friends were amazed at the topics I would take on. Science fiction in particular was new to me but I jumped into that and other books as I raised my children. If they had an interest in it, I figured I would check it out too! We were able to share so many conversations based around the books that we were both reading.

We are also a singing family. I know that music won’t be every family’s interest but it was fun for us. We enjoyed listening to gospel records, tapes and singing around the piano. Even if you aren’t musical, listening to Christian music is easier now than it used to be. Christian music is so beneficial to our spiritual life. As parents, we set the tone (no pun intended) for the activities in our home. Choosing wholesome music can make all the difference.

Those were just a few examples.The foundation for discipline is a solid and loving relationship. Without that, it is hard to have your child’s heart to direct. I wonder what your children or your whole family has interest in? Maybe that would be a place to build rapport and connections in your home!

Some Things That Called For Discipline

The hardest part about disciplining my children was disciplining myself! I didn’t always have the time for discipline. I was a busy mom with four children but, I knew that I had to MAKE THE TIME. Because, what they truly needed was for me to train them for their futures. I disciplined with the goal in mind that, “If I don’t want my child to do it at age 16, I shouldn’t let him do it at age 2.” This would include things like:

  • Sitting or standing on the table
  • talking back to me in a commanding voice or attitude
  • disobeying me directly
  • climbing on the furniture
  • taking things that don’t belong to them (even their sibling’s things)
  • saying words to me or to others that hurt
  • hitting/kicking anyone
  • eating/drinking anywhere except the kitchen (until they are old enough and I am the one who decides when that is)
  • every list will be different, you make yours!

Tips On How To Discipline

When you do need to discipline, make it fit. Be creative! The more egregious and dangerous, the more serious the discipline should be. For example, a toddler running in the road can be deadly. Running away from you in a parking lot will bring a stronger correction than something less serious. Make sure that they know you mean business and that you have their best interest at heart.

There are lots of ways to discipline. Though I know it was popular in my time, I didn’t like to send my children to the corner with their face away from me. I wanted to see their face and I wanted them to see me. Being faced in the corner or sent to their room allowed them to sulk and stir up negative feelings towards me or other family members. My goal was to teach them what to do with their feelings, not to wallow in them.

  • Be calm- Count to 10 (for you!), pray, collect your thoughts
  • Be strategic- make sure the punishment fits the offense and is age appropriate and time sensitive
  • Be consistent- It takes time and patience
  • Be loving- Don’t say “This hurts me more than you”- nobody believes that! Instead say, “I know this hurts but, we all learn this way”
  • Don’t put it off until later- Do it now. (Even if you have to pull over the car) Also avoid saying “wait until your father gets home!” Instead, deal with the situation and make Daddy’s homecoming a happy time.
  • Get both parents involved- The discipline decisions you make need to support one another. Present a united front and handle your strategy in private.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6 ESV

The Heart Of Working Through It

It’s important to make sure they know we are all still learning. Even me! Working through situations allowed me to assure my children that their emotions and frustrations were natural but that they did not need to give in to them. I wanted them to know that God was available to them, that He would listen to them and that ultimately He was the one in charge. When I could point them to Jesus, instead of a focus on anger, hate or jealousy, they would see His love for them. In turn, they could see their need to love others.

Remember that you are relationship building. When my children slipped into the teen years, books and friends said that my kids would be difficult and not want to listen to me anymore. One of my friends even said that by the time her children hit their teens, she just stopped telling them anything! I remember asking this friend, “How will they know your values if you stop telling them? And, who else will be the ones inputting values into their lives?” Keeping Proverbs 22:6 close to me, I continued talking to my teenagers and sharing biblical values with them.

Children are so smart and they can be very good listeners. We have the opportunity to make deposits in our children’s lives. We can tell them about our choices, good and bad. Sharing with them how those things turned out will help them to understand that we are not perfect people but that we have been learning along the way. Every opportunity I have to share the Gospel with my children and how the Lord cares for me is a place I want to be active. Has anyone ever noticed that “discipline” comes from the same root as “disciple”? That is what we are to do, disciple our children!

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

Proverbs 2:1-5

If you have enjoyed hearing from Gramma Louise, you may want to check out other posts in this series “Gramma Speaks”. Come back often and see what’s new! There are many grammas with wisdom just waiting to pour it out.

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