Our Notes

Friday, November 6, 2009

Discussion of the IF-THEN Chart

We are planning to just write it up on some of small poster boards...so I don't have an actual chart in the word processor here, sorry.

First off, some thoughts: there are many sources we drew from for ideas and a bit of direction. I know what our main problem issues are here, and everyone will have different ones. The best way to start with a chart like this is to hit the top 5 offenses in your home. What issues do you find yourself having to be that broken record on? Running in the house? Siblings arguing...or arguing with you? Not completing chores, like cleaning their room, making a bed, etc? Complaining? Dawdling? Find those issues that seem to constantly be in the front of the action and go from there.

I am definitely not one to be a cheerleader for that "choose your battles" sort of child-rearing, but if you've never had a great authority position in your household with the children, you are going to feel over-whelmed with some full-blown, attack-everything kind of chart. Start with a few of those rule-breakers you want dealt with ASAP, and work up from there. My take on choosing your battles is laziness. The Lord has given you the authority in your family -- remember those verses on children obey your parents (Col. 3:20, Eph. 6:1)? They are there for a reason, dear one. It's not so the children can set the tone for the household with whines, complaints, out-right tantrums, dawdling and disobedience. The Lord gave you that authority because He is expecting YOU to raise HIS children to be worthy of being in His Army one day. Those whining children, those dawdlers, those temper-tantrum-to-get-their-own-way children...they are the future leaders, folks. Please start training them as though you have been blessed immensely with a very expensive gift and not some dollar store plastic trinket. You have every expectation of obedience. The Lord already gave it to you. If they don't listen, it's because you have abused your authority and are now just a hypocrit parent, or you never stepped up to the plate in the first place. There are no battles to choose in parenting. Everything is a battle and one that you are expected to fight with The Kingdom as your vision and goal.

Then you have the critics of such a chart. They balk at how a a charting of offenses will produce anything good. Well, you can get a great Blessing Chart from Doorposts too, you know.
Anyway, those critics immediately hop on the not every child is equal in personality bandwagon. I agree. They aren't. Personalities, temperments, attitudes...whatever you want to call it, children vary same as adults do. However, you are still the authority in your home, strong-willed child or not. If your children are forever pushing the boundaries of their structure, what kind of adults are you producing? If you can not and do not bring that will under submission to your authority, how will they submit to the many authorities in their lives later -- their employers, for example. Or better yet, if that will isn't brought under submission, where will The Lord fit into their lives later? You aren't raising a force for the world...you are supposed to be training the future of His Kingdom.

Not every child is going to respond the same to this or that form of punishment. True enough. However, you are still the authority, the Scriptures are the ultimate authority guide. There is no alternate chastisements listed there. The Lord might have different directions of leading each one, but the rules are the rules, despite man's constant avoidance of them as written. There are very clear If-Then lists scattered throughout the Bible. There isn't a great deal of fuzzy gray areas written folks, that's something we've created to make our lives easier. Rules are rules. Carved in stone, for the most part. Not open for discussion -- although if someone was to present a seriously thought out, intelligent argument over one of the rules, I'd re-examine it surely.

Now, there again, you should include the children in the chart-making. You and your spouse are the ultimate charters here, but the children should have some bit of a vested interest in what's going on that chart. Discuss the rules, discuss some thoughts on the chastisement end of things, select some verses together that cement what the proper actions/reactions should be. For some families, natural consequences will work, but there still needs to be actual correction involved, not just leaning on those natural consequences. Don't bring the laundry to the washing machine area, don't put your clean clothes away, they go without clean clothes, or they end up with wrinkled clothing. That might mean something to a child who has several out of house activities, coop groups, etc. To mine, it's not a big deal. We're farm folk...we have clothes for everyday, clothes for town. If back-talking is an issue, what is the natural consequence involved?

Remember, bringing the will under submission is not the same as breaking the spirit. Bringing a child under submission to those placed in authority positions in his life does not alter his personality, his identity, his character. Well, for some children it will alter those things, but only for the better. Children in this day and age are given too much reign with this "I'm my own person" thinking. Children of past generations were expected to behave certain ways. There was no free willed, strong willed, oppositional children given to their own direction. That again is something man-made, not God-ordained. Disobedience was a serious issue and punishment/correction was handed out swift and without discussion. Every child knew the rules governing proper behavior, proper respect to adults, etc. There wasn't a reason for discussion. The consequences didn't change day to day, situation to situation, child to child.

But now, we have these so-called equality thoughts. That whole warped I'm Okay, You're Okay psycho-babble mumbo-jumbo. Children are children, they are not equals as children. A child is a child, an adult is an adult. Respect is not something that is always to be earned. You respect the authority of the police officer who pulls you over, you treat them with the respect that their postition as an authority figure gives them. You might mumbled later on, but for better or worse, they have the authority in certain areas and you simply do not. Parenting is the same way. You have the authority position in your household. You govern the comings and goings of the children until such a time as they remove themselves from that household. You govern the education (if you homeschool, and even a great deal of it if you public school) aspects of your children until such time as they have completed the course sequence dictated by your state or your personal home school. You govern the meals, the laundry, the entire tone of the day is completely within your power as the adult and parent in the home. Stop wasting the time and start doing what you were created to do as a parent.

Now, soapbox aside....here are some of the references we found and utilized in putting together our IF-THEN Chart: (yeah, finally, heh?)

His Mercy is New blog -- great ideas (good reading all over the blog, actually) She uses allowances/payments in some of her Then consequences, we don't do allowances here. Just a personal choice.

Raising Arrows blog -- she shares a view of their chart that you can easily print yourself

Ginger Plowman has some great resources too, well worth checking out

Titus 2, with that wonderful Managers of Their Home, Managers of Their School, Managers of Their Chores...these work very well, if you use them :o)

Doorposts, the original creators of the If-Then Chart, they have a Blessing Chart, Brother Offended chart and The Go-To-The-Ant chart

Need help/ideas for the Scriptural basis for your proper behavior? Home Life Ministries has a wonderful collection of Character Journals...and their free.

A good starting point is always the list in my right sidebar of The Family Home Plan that governed the home where Susannah Wesley trained children to give themselves over to The Lord.

And this is a wonderful quote from the sidebar of a blog (and goodness, I can't remember where I was when I found it! I was doing the whole If-Then thing...if someone sees this, let me know so I can credit it properly!)
It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters. We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence. Too often the pressure for popularity, on children and teens, places an economic burden on the income of the father, so mother feels she must go to work to satisfy her children’s needs. That decision can be most shortsighted. It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character. Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness. How vital are mother’s influence and teaching in the home—and how apparent when neglected! - Ezra T. Benson

2 comments:

Raisingarrows said...

Great post! I've been reading through your blog and enjoying it.
Amy @ Raising Arrows

Amylynn said...

OUCH!!! What you wrote really hit home to me. I have been struggling for awhile with my kids and I know that I need to make changes. I found your blog when looking for ideas for consequences on the if/then chart. I have been overwhelmed for a long time and feeling like I have lost control of discipline in my home. Thank you for your post. As much as the truth hurts, I fully agree with all you wrote and am praying fervently for help in this area.

Blessings!
Amy

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