This week we had to read Chapters 7 & 10.
Chapter 7 Discarding Unbiblical Methods
This chapter focused on how we as parents can sometimes use very unbiblical methods to change the behavior of our child/children, but miss the opportunity to reach true change by addressing the heart issues (pride, selfishness, envy, etc.) These unbiblical methods may cause our child to stop the bad behavior for a time or a moment but the change is superficial. In all reality if we just get them to change the behavior and not address their heart issue then we will be raising "fake" kids. Our kids will learn how to "act" around us but still have a deep heart problem. Dr. Tripp was saying how Behaviorism is wrong because it teaches our children how to be selfish (love of self). It teaches our children how to be hypocrites.
Some examples of negative ways to address bad behavior are:
1. Asking a child after they are fighting over a toy, "Who had it first?" It shouldn't matter who had it first because the real heart issue is selfishness. The child refusing to share or want the other child's happiness is the problem...who had it first stops the behavior but doesn't get to the selfishness heart issue.
2. Manipulative threats. For example telling the kids if they don't clean up their toys mom and dad will pack them all up and give them to the children in Bosnia who don't have any toys and who will appreciate their toys.
3. Guilt/Emotional appeal. He gave an example of a mom telling her kids this sob story that the reason why the family would be going to the poor house is because they don't share. Dad goes to work crying every day. He finds no joy in work anymore. That's why dad has been turned down for a promotion...and on and on the poor house story goes...Tripp says, this may make your child cry the first few times but eventually they will catch on and think, here goes mom with the poor house story.
4. Bribery and Prizes. Tedd Tripp thinks (and so do I) that children should not get paid for things that they should be responsible to do...clean their room, make their bed, etc. He says, "Bribery latches on to evil in the child's heart and uses it as a motivation. The child is not taught to look out for the interests of others. The child learns nothing about being under authority because God is God and the parent is his agent. The child does not learn biblical reasons for integrity, responsibility, or neatness in one's room." Also, let's face it...these appeals, to give money are quite easy to do and get our children to respond to...it takes a lot more time to invest time talking to our child about why it is so important to be responsible and to do things because they are just supposed to instead of to get a reward each time. I'm really learning that good parenting is going to take lots of time!!!
Tedd Tripp was saying in our video on these chapters that the overflow of our hearts comes through in all we say and do. See Matthew 15, Luke 6, and Mark 7. That is why it is so important for the parents to have a true heart change with the Lord before they expect their children to catch on to all of this. We all have such sinful hearts and unless we are willing to ask God to help change us, as parents we will be hypocrites to say "Do as I say, not as I do!"
Chapter 10 Embracing Biblical Methods: A Life of Communication
Communication with our children is a lifestyle. It not only disciplines but disciples our children. "It shepherds your children in the ways of God." In Deuteronomy 6 it speaks of training your child as you walk, sit down, rise up, lying down, and waking up. It happens all day long. Isn't it sad that in this day and culture moms and dads are so busy with work/things to do that we have forgotten the lost art of talking with our children and spending time face to face with them? This is one of the main reasons why John is working so hard right now, so that I can stay home and really invest in our children. Instead of dropping them off at daycare where there are 20-30 children per classroom with maybe 2 teachers. I'm not saying daycare is wrong. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. However, I will sacrifice not getting a brand new car, or new clothes, or a TV for every room in my house, or a boat, or a Coach purse because I believe my children are way more important. And don't get me wrong, I LOVED my teaching profession, and one day I pray God allows me to teach in the classroom again, but if He doesn't allow it I don't think I will ever say, "I regret spending so much time with my kids!" Never! I might say "I regret working while raising my kids." though. And as a teacher, there were so many needy kids who wanted so much attention, simply because parents were so busy at home they were not talking to their children. It is so sad!
If you practice talking together with your child on a daily basis, then when a strained situation comes up, talking is just a natural part of your parenting/shepherding. It won't be viewed as a negative thing, because usually when parents have a "talk" with their kids it is because of bad behavior! How sad! We should be talking and investing in our kids all the time! Tedd Tripp uses the shepherding term because it embodies how we should be "guiding" our children through life...and as a Christian parent, of course, I want my children to surrender their heart/life to Jesus at an early age. I want my children to understand their motives and goals, their wants and wishes and desires...have you met teens lately who have no idea who they are or what they want to do in life? How is that possible? How frustrating that must be! If parents take the time to shepherd their child, Lord willing, all these things become clearer because they see who they are in Christ and realize what God wants them to do.
Tedd Tripp says, "Biblical communication is expensive. Insightful and penetrating conversations take time. Children require both time and flexibility." He says that wise parents talk when kids are in the mood. And I don't know about you but most kids I know LOVE to talk :) Especially 3rd and 4th graders. I love the way kids think and how they share their thoughts. I can't wait for Julia and Mark to sharpen their communication skills and start sharing their hearts and minds! Kids are so great!
We must bring integrity in our interaction with our children. I can remember countless times when my parents would lecture me and I just wasn't interested in listening to them because I felt they had no integrity. I can remember being very angry with them as a teen because of certain sins I saw in their lives that I felt were hypocritical. As a parent now myself, I want to make sure that is not so with my own children. We are the models of the christian life to our children, and as scary as that is, we need to be on our knees asking God for help each day! Are you in? I know I am! I have to priceless treasures upstairs that I want to shepherd and model godly behavior for...Lord, please help us as parents!