Keith & I are so excited! After nine and a half years of parenting, five college degrees between us (so far), & a combined seventeen years of teaching under our belts, we think we might have come up with a pretty good discipline plan, at least for our house. We’ve been incorporating it for the month of February & so far so good!
Knowing from classroom experience how it’s best to have a few rules that encompass everything you might come across, Keith came up with three rules to live by. He gives a “hat tip” to Lou Holtz for these:
1 – Do what’s right. Thumb up.
Hosea 14:9 “The paths of the Lord are true & right, and righteous people live by walking them.”
2 – Do your best. Give the British “cheerio” arm pump.
Colossians 3:23 – “Work hard & cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
3 – Do to others as you would have them do to you. “No, after you” sign.
Luke 6:31 – “Do for others as you would like them to do for you.”
The VodPod has Nate demonstrating the three hand signals for these rules. We decided this would be a good way for Anders to remember them, but the added bonus has been that now we can signal across the room or in church or whatever & the kids know what we are saying to them – warning! Remember the rule! That has proved helpful.
The last (we didn’t give it a number – if this one is followed, the others will be, too) but most important rule, Keith explained, is not one we can enforce, but we can pray for them to live by…
Deut. 6:5 – “and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”
This one we just make a giant heart in the air to cover everything; when we recite the rules.
The other thing we have put to work for us is a reward system/record book. These are to help us be consistant; something we struggle with. I remembered that when I taught a group of unrully fifth graders one year, we got along fine because I had my little black book that I carried everywhere. In this book, I recorded any notes to myself, rulebreaking (who did what) so I could talk to the parents about anything, have everything on record, remember which checkmark Mark, Jed, Oliver, Scotty & the Daniels were on!, as well as analyze patterns, etc. so they could be more quickly taken care of. With all that in mind, I got myself a “golden book”. Every day, we have six circles by each name to record the daily happenings. This way, when I declare Anders has lost his priveledge to touch a cat for the rest of the day, I can remember it, enforce it, & when Keith gets home, he can look to see how things went for the day & help enforce the declaration, too. This gives the kids accountability to Daddy-o, too; a very important element. The notebook also helps us keep records so we can look over the last few days to spot patterns if we need.
The six circles in the notebook are part of the reward system. If I don’t do some kind of systematic reward thing, I tend to get into a habit of correcting the bad behavior all the time & not praising the good I am seeing. Who wants to live under that? I don’t want to do that to them. So, to help me praise, we decided to issue six “gold coins” every day, each representing a nickle. They start the day with these six gold coins (yellow construction paper circles with their initial on them). If there’s a broken rule, a coin goes away. In the book, a circle is crossed off with reason why beside it. (When there’s blatent disobedience or defiance, they earn a swat along with it.)
At the end of the day, they can trade one coin for a treat from our treat basket to enjoy during devotions if they have any left. We talk about how the day went, celebrate good behavior, etc. The rest of the coins go into the “bank” – a little box I cut a slit out of the top & wrote “bank” on.
The bank holds their money for the month & at the end of the month, I’m willing to take them to the Dollar Tree to pick out a trinket or two as a reward. Or they can save it. Or, as money burns a major hole in Nate’s pocket, he worked out a deal with Dad to pay for a gun he wants really badly. Dad bought it for him, but he needs eight more dollars before he can play with it. This money can help chip away at his “debt”. We weren’t sure how this would work – February has been the experiment month, but so far Nate has earned $1.90, Callie is up to $2.05, & Anders has 50c. Mom says it’s too bad there’s not a Dime Tree for Anders! All that to say, it doesn’t look like it’s going to break our bank account. But it sure is helping me enforce the rules! It’s worth it.