Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Takeaways from Creative Correction

At the beginning of January, I posted about the Empty Shelf Challenge and decided that my first book of 2014 would be Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel because our discipline was needing a tune-up.

In my last post, I listed the things I was hoping to take away after reading this book (for the third time).  Well, I'm glad to say that I did it.  I read the whole thing and took a bunch of notes on most chapters, so I thought I would share my thoughts here in case it might be helpful to anyone reading this blog.

1. Creative Corrections - Over the past six years since we have been parents, we have used several methods of discipline to help our kids to really "get it" and build godly character as a result.  But, time outs and taking away a toy for the day can only go so far.  We do always have a conversation with the offender about what he did wrong, why it was wrong, and what he needs to do better going forward.  Often, we go on a little too long to ensure "got it"-ness is fully achieved.  I'm pretty sure we lose them after the first sentence.  And sometimes, depending on the infraction, we will pray to ask God's forgiveness and help.  But, the behavior is not curbed for very long and we have started to notice some attitude changes in the boys that can be destructive if allowed to continue, especially as they get older. 

In the book, Lisa (we're on a first name basis) always tries to tie the conversation and correction directly to the heart issue at hand.  Disclaimer: I don't necessarily agree with all the methods in this book.  We will never use hot sauce on our kids.  But, a lot of the object lessons and use of scripture to correct our children, I really do find helpful.  So, here are some things I really liked:

~Always start the correction with scripture.  If you're not a Biblical scholar (this girl right here), you might find this step intimidating.  Lisa gives lots of verses by topic in the first toolbox.  Start with one.  The biggest one that your kids have trouble with.  That could be anger, obedience, fear, deceitfulness, or any number of things.  Help your kids memorize one scripture at a time so that, as they grow, they can come back to that verse and remember the right thing to do.

~If your child has to be corrected about the same issue over and over, he's not fully understanding the problem with his behavior.  This is where good object lessons and stories can come in handy.  Lisa uses an example in the book about a child who had a chronic issue with obedience and one day, he went out on an ice pond without permission and fell in.  His disobedience led to a major safety issue.

I don't know about you, but I'm not a great storyteller.  I don't remember the details well enough to retell it.  Noone is on the edge of their seat listening to my stories, trust me.  Except when they're planning to make their getaway.  Eh, we all have our strengths.  Anyway, I know this one can be difficult, but I think you can approach this in two different ways.  1. write down some notes to pull out when you need them or 2. have your child sit on his bed for a few minutes while you find/think of a story to tell that would help them grab on to the lesson.

2. Better use of my tone/voice - no more yelling in frustration/exasperation - I can honestly say that since I've been reading this book and trying to hold on to some of these ideas, I have yelled a lot less.  With my middle child, almost every day, I have had to count to 10 (sometimes 20 or 30) and take some deep breaths before I say anything.  And you know what?  That has really cut down on the frustrated, yelling, angry responses coming out of my mouth.  If I learned nothing else from this process, I could still walk away happy with this one.

There have been times when I have grabbed the book or my notes so that I can plan the correction.  For example, the other night, Jo (3) started tearing the stuffing out of a pillow that had torn.  Normally, he'd go to timeout or go to bed early.  But this time, I took him into the playroom and dumped out all the blocks on the floor and told him that it's not okay to be destructive and tear things apart.  We need to use our time building things up.  I told him that he needed to get all the blocks put back in the bucket and gave him three minutes.  For every minute after that, he would go to bed a minute early.  And, he got those blocks cleaned up in that three-minute window.  Then, we had a short talk and he apologized for destroying the pillow.   I was pretty proud of that moment because it didn't take much effort to do something different and I really think he connected the problem with his actions.

3. Teaching with Scripture - I have already mentioned the list of verses given in this book, but there are probably verses that we all have memorized and can help our kids "hide in their heart" for when they are faced with a tough situation.  That is one of the most important things we can give our kids.  Good decision-making tools.  We have to let them fail at home when the consequences are small so that when they go out into the world, they have a better chance of making the right decision when the consequences are big. 

Anger - Psalm 29:11 "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."

Arguing - Proverbs 13:10 "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice."

Attitude - Proverbs 15:15 "All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast."

Kindness - Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you."

Obedience- Colossians 3:20 "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."

Personally, I have been quoting Philippians 2:14 "Do everything without grumbling or complaining" a LOT. 

The other night, Benji came out of his bed and told me that he was afraid.  We always talk about how dreams aren't real and they go away as soon as you wake up.  And that God is always there to ease his anxiety.  But, this night, I was reading my book when he came out, so I gave him this scripture from Psalm 56:3-4: "When I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust. I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?"  We have talked about the verse a couple more times briefly since then and it's apparent to me that it's sticking with him.  So, that's an encouragement to me that if we keep at it, he (and they) really WILL get it. 

I am really glad that I read this book again and I'm sure it won't be the last time I'll need it.  But, for now, I'm on to my next book, UnSweetined: A Memoir: A Memoir by Jodie Sweetin.  This is her autobiography about her time on Full House and her struggle growing up afterwards.  

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