Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Going Old School

So. Violet, Sarah and I are battling lately. This is getting to be old, hearing me say this, right? I've allowed them to become very disrespectful of my husband and myself. So much so that two people have commented on it.

You have no idea how humiliating that is.

But I had no idea on how to fix it. I'd take Violet's ipod away and she'd read -- which she loves. And I don't feel right taking away reading. I'd restrict t.v and she'd play with her Barbies and not care that she lost t.v.  Sarah just screams.

So I was at a total loss.

I thought I had a moment of parental genius the other day when she told me that playing was boring and I decided that I'd teach her what boring was. So she cleaned her room all day long - seriously. From 10:30 til 2:30 she dusted, put toys away and organized her closet. Only in the end she declared, "Look at my room, it's awesome!" So, kind of a fail there.

I discussed my frustrations with a friend, one who had noticed the disrespect - the eye rolling, the laziness, the outright refusal to complete my requests- and she told me what she used with her kids, what had worked.

Writing lines. Bible verses specifically.

Hmm.

So I talked to my husband about it. To the girls about it. Then spent the afternoon reading Ephesians - the book that seems to deal the most with obedience and children - and we got started. I copied down a few verses on cards, put them in a box and prepared myself.

And Violet promptly began being rude to Sarah.

I, somehow, calmly handed her a card and the pad of paper.  Had her read the verse out loud to me: Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I asked her if she knew what it meant. She did not. I had her write it twice, then we discussed it again. And she understood part of it. We had a true discussion about what it meant to speak kindly and helpfully. Later, she started in on Sarah and I said, "Violet, what did you write earlier?" She kind of tilted her head and said, "This? This is unhelpful. Huh."

It was a tiny 'aha' moment.

And it also reminded me -- big time- that I need to speak in a way that helpful for building others up according to their needs -- especially my children.

Today Sarah started in on something, I can't even remember what. And I, again, somehow calmly, handed her the verse Ephesians 6:1 Children obey your parents.

She had a fit and refused , but I stuck it out. Eventually she wrote it down two times and handed it to me -- nicely.

I think the key is I stick to this and remain calm. Remain calm.

So today, it was a success.

Here's hoping tomorrow is as well.