My husband and I consider it extremely important that our children obey us or those in authority. One technique that we use to exact obedience is setting out negative consequences when they intentionally violate the rules of discipline that we have all set together.
So as not to foster resentment (which would eventually lead to rebellion) we have taken pains to explain that we discipline them for their own sake and not for our own convenience. That we want them to grow into mature and responsible adults and that as Christians, they ought to obey their parents as the bible says. We have always been careful to differentiate consequence from punishment, to condemn the offense but never the offender.
For three days in a row last week, my two girls have failed to do their share of household chores as per our agreement. They have been procrastinating and have been a little negligent of their responsibilities at home and in school. So I decided it was time for consequence. They could not watch television and use the computer for one week.
It was amazing how the word “consequence” sent them scampering to their feet. But it was too late. The die was cast. No amount of sweet-talking or apologies can undo my decision. As a parent, I have long since learned that it pays to be firm to command obedience from the children.
Last Saturday was the 7th day of their consequence. I needed to do a lot of errands so I left them under the care of my close friend. I had no idea that I would be up for a most pleasant surprise later that day.
When I left, my friend sent my children down the basement to join her kids (who are also close friends of my kids) to do some kids’ stuffs. She checked them out an hour later and was a bit worried to see my own kids staying by themselves at the living room while her own kids were inside the computer room browsing the internet, playing Wii and watching television.
Feeling sorry for my kids, she asked them to join her kids at the computer room but my children politely declined. Here is how their conversation went on:
Friend: Hey, guys, why don’t you join your friends at the computer room?
Kids: We're grounded. Can't watch tv or play with the computer.
Friend: Oh-I'm giving you permission. I'll just explain to your mom later.
Kids: But we haven't completed the seven days yet.
Friend: That's why I'm giving you permission.
Other Kids: Come on guys. Nobody's telling anybody!
Kids: Sorry, Tita. We can’t do that to our mom. It just isn’t right.
It just isn’t right. These words kept ringing in my ears. My children know how to behave even when I’m not around, ESPECIALLY when I’m not around.
What a wonderful joy to realize that my children obey not out of compliance, nor out of duty. They do because they feel it’s the right thing to do.
3 years ago