I am sure we’ve all said it, “I’ve already told you once!” “How many times do I have to tell you!” and other such useless verbiage. And it is useless verbiage – it is just words that bounce around in our children’s heads – they don’t really hear it and it certainly doesn’t make even a dent on their hearts. Useless verbiage – but it sure does makes us feel better.
This is because we really know that the reason why we are having to say this over and over again to our kids is because we haven’t been on the ball ourselves – but it is much easier, and more comfortable for us, to blame them than to look at our selves and take the blame.
Now, I’m not really into blame games but lets be honest – as a parent we have a responsibility to teach and train our children. If they haven’t got it then we keep on teaching and training. There is no sunset clause – there is no due by date. We just keep on training. That is our job description.
[Tweet “We keep on teaching our kids till they get it – there is no sunset clause.”]
These words – “I’ve already told you” or” How many times do I have to tell you”, are most likely the beginning of a negative communication pattern we have with our children. We say this and then it spirals down into anger. If this is true for you, then when you next hear yourself saying something along these lines, stop, pull yourself up, and get yourself on a better line of thought.
What to do Instead:
There are two main things that we, the parent can do to stop the situations that make us snap:
1– Respond to the first instance of their disobedience. This requires self discipline and often we are a bit like an ostrich with its head in the sand, we hope the child’s disobedience will disappear and we won’t have to deal with it. The thing is it doesn’t – it spirals, grows worse and we suddenly snap.
2– Keep boundaries around our children until they can make good and right choices for themselves. A boundary can be a routine, structured and planned activities, only letting them play with appropriate toys in an appropriate way. A boundary simply helps them do the right thing.
Training isn’t a Once Only
We know in our heads that our children need to be trained. We know in our heads that telling them once doesn’t really train them. But our actions are often inconsistent with what we know. We have to be committed to the idea of training. This may mean we lay aside our desire to read a book, talk on the phone, browse the internet, finish a scrapbook page. None of these things compare to the importance of our children’s hearts.
Training means that we
- Know where we want our child to be (in understanding, skill, behaviour, belief)
- Know where our child is at
- Know how we are going to help them grow whatever area we are considering
Training is about modelling, teaching, practising, and then expecting. It is a long term project – it will not be over and done with just because we told them something once, or even twice.
Training our children is hard work – are we prepared to put in the effort? Probably a better question would be – are we prepared to deal with the consequences if we don’t put in the effort?
Over to you:
What do you find the most frustrating when teaching your kids something?