Chapter 9: Embracing Biblical Methods: Types of Communication
Whew! What a day...between cooking, baking, dropping off a meal, going to the library for story/play time, running errands, and caring for my two little ones, I think this is the first time I sat down all day!
Tedd Tripp was saying, at the beginning of this chapter that we, as parents, sometimes reduce our communication with our children to 3 basic modes of rules, correction, and discipline. So, you give your child the rules, you correct them when they break the rules, and then you discipline them for breaking the rules. Now, of course this is necessary, but this should not be the only communication we give.
Tedd Tripp gives 8 modes of communication:
He states that all of these must be part of your interaction with your child. Let's take each one and find out why they are so vital.
1. Encouragement (my ultimate favorite) "Children need communication to inspire and fill with hope and courage." (don't we all need this?) How many people do you know who seek to do their best because someone believed in them and encouraged them along the way? I can even see this with Julia at 2 years old. When I am encouraging her after she made a good choice, she beams or claps and says "Yay!" or "Good girl!" I've even seen her, bless her heart encourage her brother "Marky...good boy!" And he sheepishly smiles. Encouraging your child is such a blessing to them, and to you because if they are doing something right, you deserve the credit too! So when you see a child who has made a mistake, and you see/hear from them that they are repentant but then down on themselves because they keep "messing up" this isn't the time to beat them down "so to speak" by yelling at them or sending them to their room, this is an opportunity to encourage them. If they are feeling like a failure or hopeless this is the time to encourage them with your words, and with your hugs and help them to know the promises of God. God always forgives. God draws us near when we are brokenhearted over our sin. Inspire them with your words and let them know that God makes all things new. He allows us a second chance. Isn't it sad that the world is not so forgiving?
2. Correction-now we all have this one down pat, don't we? We know when a child has broken a rule or a standard and we need to correct what is wrong. This is important because God has standards too. We need to obey God's standards. "Correction helps your children to understand God's standard and teaches them to assess their behavior against that standard."
3. Rebuke-This is when you make have to speak in alarm over something that has been said or done. For example if you hear your child say, "I hate you!" You may say "Those are words I never want to hear come out of your mouth!" Sometimes our children need to see/hear the shock in our voice and on our face about something they've done. Tedd Tripp says this "censures behavior".
4. Entreaty-This type of communication is "earnest and intense". "It involves pleading, soliciting, urging, and even begging." Sometimes a parent must "bare their soul" and actually plead for their child to act "in wisdom and faith." Tedd Tripp says he used this type of communication with his own sons as he would talk to his boys about the importance of saving themselves for marriage and avoid sexual immorality. I think this is also a great time to talk about our own sin struggles with our children so they see our own need for Christ's love and forgiveness and we can share how sin and temptation may have affected our lives or choices and our own experiences.
5. Instruction-basically involves communicating a lesson. Teaching your child how to make their bed, how to study (most parents just assume kids know how to do these things when they really do need to be taught how...and yes, this takes time.)how to write a thank you letter, how to be helpful. Kids need information about themselves and others because they are figuring out the world around them. I think this is one of the parts of parenting that excites me the most. It is so neat to teach your child how to do things. I guess it's the teacher in me! LOL
6. Warning-their is danger all around our children in this world...so this type of communication is there to help them to be able to guard themselves against this danger. The book of Proverbs gives us as parents and children so many great and wise warnings and is probably a great book to read at night time or a part of family devotions. Their is so much wisdom in Proverbs. Tripp states "Once your children begin to internalize such truths, their attitudes and behaviors, are powerfully influenced."
7. Teaching-imparting knowledge...and you know what before we can teach anything to our children about God, we ourselves need to be readers of God's word and fellow students of God's wisdom. We need to be taught by God so that we are instructing and teaching our children with God's truth and not just our own truth.
8. Prayer-Yes this is communication with God, but it is so important in our relationship with our child. I loved those private times when mom and I would pray at night before bed. She didn't do it all the time, but the times she did meant so much to me. If we want our children to value prayer then they need to see us do it. They need to hear us pray. They need us as models and also it helps connect us with our child. And hearing us pray will communicate to our child that we have a real faith, not a superficial faith. We need to practice what we preach. Children watch us very closely. They listen to what we "do" sometimes more than what we "say".
So communication with our children takes many forms and they take a lot of time, but isn't is great to know that all of these forms can be done in a way that honors God and brings us closer to our children? I love it!