Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Entries from October 1, 2008 - November 1, 2008

Entries from October 1, 2008 - November 1, 2008


Getting From Here to There: The Elements of Character Training: Criticism Appreciated

In light of a comment I received last week I have been rethinking how I was explaining the elements of character training. She made some good points and as my third degree burns are beginning to heal, I have been able to think through those points. In all humility, I don’t think the commenter and I will ever agree on all the specifics of how to raise children. That is okay. In the end, it is the parent’s call. Please visit: Mindrec for a different perspective.

The assumption is parents love their children and desire them to be mature adults one day. I can see where the "formula" can be subject to abuse. If a parent desires to dominate a child he will use any justification.

I did adjust my formula a little and I want to briefly define some terms.

Character training = Teaching + Discipline + Praise + Consequences

A formula is a system of thinking to aid in mapping out how to accomplish a goal. We use formulas all the time without thing of them as such. A recipe is in effect someone’s formalized approach to making a cake. You can follow that approach to the letter, you can adjust it to suit your purpose, or you can develop another recipe on your own or you can bake a pie. The choice is yours.

Teaching was defined by me last week: Teaching is all methods of communicating to your child what you desire them to do and why you desire them to do it. The what and the why are equally important. Teaching consistent of but not limited to oral instruction, demonstrating, visual clues and /or working with your child. Equally important, mention why you do what you do.

The world I live in is both gentle and rational so I forget that some words can come with loaded emotional content. Words like discipline and punishment don’t hold the same negative emotional content for me that it can hold for others.

I kept discipline. I define that word in this context as meaning: What you as the parent do to reinforce what you are teaching. Discipline can be positive or negative. A common example of what I call discipline is homework. The purpose of homework is to reinforce what your child had learned in school. Another example is chore charts or reward charts. A negative example would be a time out. We will talk about discipline in more detail later.

I did change punishment to consequences. Punishment is just too emotionally charged to continue using. Consequences are the out come of a child’s defiance. Sometimes consequences are natural; sometimes you as the parent have to create them. Consequences in this context are always negative.

Separating teaching, discipline, praise and consequences can help you as the parent think through a given situation and decide how best to respond in order to develop your child’s character.

For example: When the kids were little we took the three of them to my parent’s church and they were terrible! There was nothing we could to at the time about their behavior without being even more disruptive to the service then they all ready were. Remember these kids have been going to church since conception, they all know how to behave…or not. Our services are much less formal than my parents are. The kids behaved like they always did but in the formal setting they were disruptive. Thinking through I realized we has not taught them how to behave in a formal church setting. What they needed was to be taught. They needed information about the world they had not received yet. The next time, in my parent’s church they were as good as gold (and very bored).

There are some examples of discipline above.

This formula doesn’t take into account praise. Praise feeds a child’s heart and is a necessary element of character training.

Consequences are the outcome of defiance. One of the types of character training I did with the kids was safety training. Don’t run in the road, basic safety training. If your 3 year old forgets and runs in the road that’s not defiance. You are back to teaching or discipline as needed. However when your 3 year old looks you in the eye and takes off for the road, that is defiance. You had better have a plan for how you will deal with that attitude of the heart before life invokes its own consequences. One day your 16 year old will look you in the eye and promise not to drink and drive, and take off out the door…..then what. What will be the content of your child’s character as she heads out that door?

Next week: Teaching older children


This is My Week For Saying Thank You

I would like to thank my top E-card droppers for the month of September. They are an interesting and varied group. If you hve some time please visit their blogs and leave a comment. All bloggers love comments!!

Dropper # of drops
Is 8 Enough? 30
Symphony of Love 27
Sasha's Corner 27
Sasha says... 26
Tara's View of the World 26
moms..... check nyo 25
New Orleans Food & Fun 25
Take It To The Limit 25
Beethoven Midi 24
Mommy's Little Corner 24
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