Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Frizzy Discipline

Welcome to the Weekly Taming of the Frizz! This week's frizziness: Discipline.

Have you ever heard this phrase before? You're not wrong, you're just different.

It has it's place. When answering philosophical or ethical questions "you're not wrong, you just come from a different view point...." is not bad to hear.

But I've heard this in regards to disciplining children. I used to babysit for a lady who told her youngest son this all the time. When he roller bladed out into the middle of the road and almost got hit by a car, as she was pulling in the driveway, she told him "You're not wrong, you're just different, but nobody is going to understand that, so you need to learn to play by the world's rules."

I couldn't believe it. I had a hard time as a child with being perceived as different. As a pastor's kid, I was always different. I didn't want to be different, I wanted to be normal. I can imagine the effect it would have had on me if my parents had instilled in me the thought that "I'm just different and nobody will understand that."

At the Curly household, we tell our kids no. Most of the time, my children understand we mean no, but lately, Curly Girl has been pushing this boundary (she's 3, I expected it).

I've read many arguments against using the word no. That telling a child no, is in essence, telling the child they are doing wrong, that they are bad and unworthy. I have issues with this. If I don't want my children digging in the potted plants, and I have tried redirection and they continue to throw potting soil on the floor I say "No, this is not something we do." If they are playing on the stairs, and people are trying to navigate the stairs, I say "no, we do not play on the stairs while people are going up and down."

Do you think this will warp my kids? Do you think they will grow up feeling as if they are always wrong and doing bad things? I hope not. I hope that I am preparing them for a world where there are certain rules we follow, and where the word no is often uttered. God has given us rules, and tells us no, why shouldn't I?

Redirection is powerful, and we use it often in the Curly household, more often than the word no, in fact. But I do believe there are times when our children should hear "No, this is not acceptable."

We are trying to instill patience and the importance of sharing in our children. This, I believe, is God's way of growing my patience. I cannot figure out how to teach Curly Girl to wait until Curly Boy is done with a toy and at the same time, teach Curly Boy to share. Honestly, there are times when the one who yells the loudest wins.

For right now, I am taking the advice of the Curly Kids' Granddad and Daddy via the Bible:
Matthew 5:37 "Simply let your yes be yes, and your no, no"
Deuteronomy 6:4-8 "Hear, oh Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

For more Taming of the Frizz, see here.

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