Wednesday, January 23

Kaden's Reward Board - Part 1

Back in November, we hit one of those phases with Kaden when what we were doing for discipline simply wasn't working. The older he gets, the more argumentative he gets and it seems, the more strong-willed. I was frustrated, Kaden was frustrated, and Daddy was tired of getting an earful from me every night on his way home from work. So in Josh's usual fashion, he decided to fix the problem! (More on that tomorrow.)

Kaden has such a sweet personality. He's energetic (I'll give you that), but he's always been a cuddler and very giving. He's very determined, though...some might even say stubborn...and maybe a smidge moody. However, he's never been given to tantrums, kicking, screaming, hitting, or the like. So when he suddenly started throwing tantrums, screaming, and slamming doors, Josh and I were both confused about what was behind this sudden change. I knew our sweet boy was still there, but something we were doing at home wasn't working. Not enough structure? Not enough one-on-one time? Not enough ___________? It seemed that a lot of his frustration was aimed at me, which was definitely not easy for me to take. Truth be told, on the inside, I was downright distraught.

One Sunday afternoon, after a rough morning with Kaden, I sat down on the couch with my Bible, and I was feeling totally worn out. I did one of those random, flip-through-the-Bible, "God-please-speak-to-me" things, and He answered. I landed in Isaiah 11, and wouldn't you know it, the heading say, "The King of Peace is Coming." Peace? Yes, please! I knew I needed encouragement from God, but I didn't know exactly what I was looking for until I found it. The chapter talks ultimately of Christ, the King of Peace, and there were a few things that stuck out to me about how this King rules. Verse 2 says that He will rule with wisdom, understanding, guidance, and power, and verse 3 says that He will not judge by the way things look or deciding by what He hears. I like that part because it's important for me to slow down and get the whole story before I jump in and start judging a situation with the kids. Things aren't always what they seem (i.e., sometimes it's Laney who's causing the problem!).

Verse 4 says He will judge the poor honestly and fairly, and back in Isaiah 10:1-2, it talks about "how terrible it will be for those who make unfair laws, and those who write laws that make life hard for people. They are not fair to the poor, and they rob my people of their rights." Now that really made me laugh, because I felt like God was talking directly to me. Because of the fact that I work from home and have limited outside help (a nanny), I do expect a lot from Kaden. He spends several hours in his room each afternoon while Laney naps, so that I can work, and this "quiet time" thing had become a real point of contention for the two of us. I still think that quiet time is necessary for both of us, but because of our new system, the tension and the battle has been taken out of the equation. I had allowed discipline to become a battle, and that had soaked up a good portion of the sweetness in our relationship. We weren't enjoying each other's company anymore because it seemed that we were always locked in battle. I sensed that Kaden needed more tenderness and more understanding from me, and it really broke my heart! I know the situation wasn't all my fault, but as the adult, it was my job to take control and get things back on track. I wanted peace, not battles.

Then I read Isaiah 11:5, and it renewed my hope. "Goodness and fairness will give him strength, like a belt around his waist." Verses 6-9 describe the picture of peace and tranquility that hinge on the first 5 verses -- there is peace because of the way the King rules! I felt like God was telling me that it didn't matter what the issues were or how things got this way. It was my job as the "king" (when Daddy's not here!) :-) to rule with goodness and fairness, and then peace would flow from that. Not bantering, not begging, not negotiating, but goodness and fairness. It's not weaker or softer or touchy-feely. If anything, trying to be my calm and easygoing self had gotten me to this point. We've always had rules, but as I said, the older Kaden gets, the more he tries the boundaries. And when timeouts failed miserably and spankings were creating more aggression, I started to lose my cool. Not pretty. (I'll admit it.) I'm not a screamer (I hate it in fact), so when I found myself raising my voice at Kaden and sounding like a crazy person, I was just as alarmed at my own behavior as I was with his. I wanted to find a way to be firm without being mean or frustrated, and I wanted to find a way to be fair to Kaden as a person while still teaching him how to be part of a family and how to follow the house rules.

So...what did we do?! Check back tomorrow, and I'll share my husband's brilliant solution. Part 2 to follow...

3 comments:

Marsha said...

Raising children is not easy. i know because my husband and I have five. I enjoyed reading this post and I can't wait to read how you have solved the problem.

Rashey said...

Checking back for the brilliant solution...

Jenn said...

Thanks so much for this post. I completely identify with it as this is happening with Joel. I can't wait to read the rest...but I loved the verses from Isaiah. I am off to read them today during some quiet time here!