Wisdom from Proverbs

A friend loves you all the time, a brother is always there to help you.
Proverbs 17:17 (International Children's Bible)

After we decided to have more than one child, I was very concerned with the chance that my children might not get along. I had always seen two scenarios when it came to siblings. (Please note this is through the eyes of a single child) Those who got along wonderfully with their siblings and those who could not stand their siblings. I was very concerned about raising children that might end up like Cain and Abel. After much prayer I felt God answer this concern with this statement: "Siblings must be taught to get along and learn to love each other." This really made sense to me, just because children are born into the same family doesn't mean they will automatically get along or even love each other. So if I wanted to have a peaceful family I must ensure that they are taught to be kind, respectful, loving and forgiving. I can't just tell them to be like this, I must show them how to give these precious gifts to each other by example, correction, and instilling in them the wisdom of the Bible.

I also feel that socialization begins at home. When children learn how to treat, get along with, and be respectful to their immediate family; those skills naturally flow over into how they interact with others. This is why when we start teaching our children to share, we teach them that sharing is not just getting what you want from someone but more importantly waiting your turn with a happy heart. Often our young children have come to mis-learn that sharing is getting what you want from someone else. The coin phrase in our house is: "When you are done with that, can you share with me." Then as they get older the focus is turned to putting others first in giving up a toy to bring joy to a little sibling.

Another issue we deal with rather early is favoritism. I think we unknowingly instill this in our children when we allow only one parent or family member to tend to the needs of a child. This wasn't a big issue with LJ but we saw favoritism in JJ and most recently has become an issue with CJ. We start addressing the issue once we see a toddler who ONLY wants a certain family member to get a drink for them or put them to bed. Often we notice that a toddler will only hold a certain parents hand. As a toddler, the solution is rather easy in method but requires consistency and firmness in execution. For example, our children have refused a cup of water if it has not been provided by a certain parent. In that instant we have kept that cup in front of them and explained if they are thirsty they will drink from that cup AND no other cup will be provided. Usually this is enough to resolve the issue but did find ourselves dealing with a willfully disobedient child who picked up their cup and dumped out the water. In this instant a spanking was given because it was an act of defiance. (In our house spankings are only issued when a child is being defiant and not used to intimidate or as a punishment.)The cup was not refilled and when they wanted a drink they had to ask the parent they were refusing a drink from for a cup of water.

Lately I have felt a bit overwhelmed by all that has to be done and worn down by a very demanding little girl. After much prayerful consideration I introduced the Buddy/Helper system.

Each day the boys look on their cork board to see if they are a Buddy or a Helper. If they are a Buddy they help out CJ, she is 3, with her daily activities. Being a Helper means they help me out with meals and doing my daily chores. This has helped out tremendously and been such a blessing in producing more fruit than I was expecting. The Buddy system has helped CJ and her brothers bond more and fostered an environment that has taught them to get along. LJ and JJ are learning to be more patient and show compassion to their little sister. CJ is learning to be more friendly with others and willingly receive their help. The Helper system has been a lot of fun for me, creating bonding time with the boys and has helped me carve out time to teach them some "home economics" each day as I train them in home maintenance and management.

I have been revising our cork-boards and recently took their Gold-Medal Behavior out of their binders and put it up for them to work on daily. After we move, they will get one point each day they are able to win all 6 gold medals and turn those points in for rewards. (More on that later) But for now we have used the Gold Medals to help correct attitudes and get them to think about how they are behaving. Once we are settled into our new home, LJ will be required to write in a daily journal how he has displayed, "completed", each character trait in hopes that he will start thinking about how he needs to behave,"complete the play". JJ is still in a "training phase" and his chart is used more for correction as he is still "learning the play book". After all training our children what it is all about!

Train a child how to live the right way. Then even when he
is old, he will still live that way. Proverbs 22:6


Mama Jenn said...

I really like your Buddy/Helper system. I am thinking about how I could implement something similar! I must have missed your gold medal post. I am going to have to go back and check that you too! You have such wonderful ideas!!!!

Mama Jenn said...

I also meant to say that I love the phrase "When you are done with that, can you share with me." I so need to teach that to my 2 year olds. They also feel that sharing means getting what they want. I am actually dealing with that very issue as I type...which means...I gotta go! :-)