Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Peace Enters the Home When a Child Submits Willfully

So, how do you get a defiant child to willfully submit to her parents authority?
Let me tell you what has worked wonders recently for us.
My 4 year old (middle child) daughter has been defiant and difficult since she was two. We were hoping that it was just that 'two's phase' and that it would pass. But now she is four and we see more anger, rebellion and aggression. Let me tell you it breaks my heart to see it. We did not raise her this way. Her brothers aren't like this. Why? Why all the fighting, strife and negativity at such a young age?
We used time outs, spankings, isolation in her bedroom (her rebellion would not keep her there), we we even tried time out in a car seat (that worked for a while). But as she grew she could McGyver her way out of the car seat too. We were prime candidates for Nanny 911.

So, at a point of heart break of tears on my end, once again, I sought council from a friend who teaches Growing Kids God's Way classes. I had heard what she told me before but I needed my memory refreshed cause my daughter was at an age where she could understand enough to be accountable.
Here is what we did and still do that seems to be working! I think it is loaded with wisdom!
When there is disobedience, I tell her she needs to go to her room until she can calm down and be a part of the family again. That usually goes over like a lead balloon. So I take her there (kicking, screaming and sometimes dragging). I tell her that she needs to sit on her bed until she has self control and to call me and I will come get her.  I also tell her that if she disobeys and comes out before she is ready that she will be chastised. I close the door and leave the room. (Another Lead balloon). She comes out 2 seconds later crying, angry and fighting. So I tell her that because she disobeyed she will need to get a spank. HERE IS THE KEY: "When you are ready for your spanking, you can come out of your room." Then, I buckle my lip and take her back to her bed, close the door. We do this how ever many times it takes (usually about 1/2 hour to 45 mins).
I was shocked the first time she said she was ready for a spanking. I thought it would never happen. Simply because I know how stubborn she can be. So I did spank her and then we hugged and talked. I told her I love her. We did this two times back to back the first day.
The second day she was and ANGEL! There were NO incidences that needed to be dealt with AT ALL! It was the most peaceful day I had had yet! She did express multiple times that she loved me and that she wanted me to cuddle with her or play with her. So I filled her little love tank and did some heart mending.
Since that first day we have only had to do that a handful of times and it has been about a month now!
Big difference. She seems much happier and cries lots less too.

Here is what happened. I was forcing her to be under my authority by just spanking her (causing both of us to be angry). This way, I give her time to come to her own agreement that mom is in authority. When I tell her to come to me when she is ready for the spanking, I am allowing her the freedom to submit when SHE is ready.
We have all heard that submission is not forced but willfully bending the heart to another's authority. The heart has to be right. Only she can do that. I can't ever MAKE her do that.
This is huge! And I see a difference in her heart! We love on each other much more than we used to. Our relationship is being built up instead of being torn down. Yes, at times we still have tears, anger and impatience but it is 99% better than it was. It is now manageable.


Marta Jeremy Emily and Abigail said...

This is such wonderful news, when these issues last for months on end there is much damage in the parent child relationship that needs healing! I can totally understand, as my nearly 5 year old has very similar issues. This is a great way to deal with rebellion, thanks so much for sharing!

Right now our battle is self control over emotions - each emotion is expressed in the highest form she can muster (along with kicking, flailing, shrieking, etc...). I have wanted to implement a time out in the room system for a few months, but due to holidays etc... my husband and I have yet to talk through it. The above plan sounds like an even better twist to the one I had in mind. I'm anxious to try this!

One other thing that helped my daughter a lot was posting the rules - and what their specific punishments were - on the fridge. I used pictures so she could understand them. I gave one warning, and that was after I guided her by hand to the fridge and asked her to identify what she'd done wrong. Then gave the warning, and if she did it again, we walked back to the fridge again. It helped give me time to cool off and stay calm, and her a chance to see that I was not just arbitrarily getting upset at her behavior.

Jennifer said...

Some children have difficulty with sensory regulation. Spanking may not be doing anything more than providing deep pressure stimulation to organize her brain pattern. There are ways to achieve this in a respectful manner. Occupational Therapist can help a lot. I have 3 kids, the older 2 never needed any type of hitting to be obedient children. The third was different. I found one day after getting hurt bumping her head on a door jam she was amazingly calm, talkative and cooperative at age 2. We enrolled her in OT and used a brushing technique and it works wonders. Provides sensory input for her brain without all the stress hormones. My parents never had to hit me and I am a respectful, law abiding, Christian woman and mother. My husband suffered terrible amounts of spankings and beatings and ended up trusting friends in highschool leading to a huge blunder and jail and he suffers from PTSD. Do really think we are formed in God's image to need to be struck? God does not give us free will and then break our spirits. He begs us to follow his lead by giving us grace. All I am saying is to consider looking at it from another angle. I fully expect you will not post such a response but pray that you will consider it.

Valerie said...

Can you please give us an update on how this is working for your daughter? I would love to hear any more improvements, setbacks, or just general thoughts on this wise approach, two months later. Thanks!

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