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Be ready for Battle - Live life with your kids - Issue 037
January 04, 2008
Hi! ....

Welcome to Live life with your Kids Newsletter!

A new year! We celebrated the New Year with a house full of friends, with a BBQ and a games night. The kids had a ball, which was the aim of the evening, finishing off with lots of sparklers out on the lawn.

This week has slipped by as holiday weeks often do. I feel as if we have achieved very little but when I stop and think about it (a good thing to do when you feel like this) we have sorted a few areas of our house, Daniel resumed his phonics lessons (and is doing very well!), the other kids have resumed 1 hour of table time (focus study time), we have played lots of games and the boys have helped grandad over in the shed building a chicken coop. So even though we are relaxing and enjoying the Grandparents visit, we have also had a gently productive week! A good time to remind myself that relationships come first!

The new year brings us opportunity to set goals and plan in every area of our life. This week’s newsletter is along the lines of planning our training of our children’s hearts.

Live life with your kids!

Be a Deliberate Parent

Be Ready for Battle

For me to be “on top” of training my children, that is to be aware of my children’s hearts, to be purposeful in my training and instruction, I like to spend a couple of hours a month and review my children’s growth. Many years ago, listening to Moms Notes, I heard her tell of a card system that I took on board. It helps me keep perspective as I deal with the many issues that a mum has to deal with as she trains her children. I call this my battle plan. Consistency is one of the biggest challenges to a mum. As soon as I take on too many battles I struggle with being consistent. I have to choose my battles. This planning helps me do this.

As we work through these things don’t forget that catch phrase:

If your why is broken
then so is your how.

Do you know why you want to fight this battle? Answer this question before you set your path to instruct your child. Read more about Being a Thinking Parent.

On a card*(see notes below), one per child, I list the level of first time obedience that each child is characterised** by. This gives me an indication of the emphasis that I should be working on with the obedience issues. An obedient heart is always the first aspect of training a child. I constantly review this and often have to step up my expectation and brush up the children’s responses.

I then list 1-2*** of the behaviour issues that are currently bothering me. (Remember one card per child) These issues are the ones that I am now going to put my efforts into – the chosen battle. These are the issues that will receive the most intense, consistent and effective training methods. The rest can receive verbal instruction or reminders. (Mentally list these, as one day you will get to them but just not now!) Then next to each behaviour problem list the Bible verse you wish to use as your “moral reason why”, write it out. Then list the consequence that you will use as a tool to guide your child to making better choices.

I then list each child’s love language**** This is a powerful reminder that some things can be out of balance in our family life and fixing these things alone may fix many behaviour challenges. Record a few things that you can do to express love to your child this week.

This battle plan may be in effect for a month, 3 months, whatever it requires till you see a change in your child. The beauty of this system is really in the accountability it calls us the mother to. When I write something down, when I think it through I am more likely to remember that is where I want to go. When a situation arises with my child I am more likely to remember what to do and to carry it out. This is my battle plan. Consistency wins more than half the battle in any training conflict we have with our children.

Our battle plan need not always be based on crossing the line and the consequences that will result. We may need to list an issue where we want to give instruction, to teach into their hearts, as opposed to correcting them. I call it our battle plan because we are fighting for our children’s hearts – we must use all the tools in our hand – instruction, training, correcting, consequences, grace and love. Which one is right for each situation?

One of the concerns that is often raised when I share this concept is - what happens if a real biggie comes along and is not accounted for in my battle plan? Deal with it. If it is a big one for your family – and lying is a big one in our family – then deal with it. We must remember that our battle plan, though very helpful is still a tool – it is not a rule!

Background Notes:

* Cards:
Initially I used index cards, one for each child and I kept them on my fridge. My children couldn’t read and they were close by for those times I felt overwhelmed and needed to refer to them. These days I use a journal. One of my regrets is that I didn’t keep those cards. What a blessing it would be to see the journey of my children’s hearts over the years. I think they would be encouraged too. This is one reason I’ve decided to go for a journal – at least the second half of their journey can be recorded for posterity! A journal keeps things a little more private too and when our children get older we do need to protect their privacy – even from family members.

** Characterised by:
We need to consider, before we set any battle plan, what our children are characterised by – Is this behaviour or attitude something you see all the time or was there circumstances involved on this particular day. We must take context – how much teaching and instruction have you given, their age, how consistent you are (you giving double messages) etc into account before you decide on an issue. In order for our parenting to be effective we must get to the bottom line issues. Characterisation is like a score of 8 out of 10 times this is the way they act – then you must find a way to change their hearts.

***1-2 Issues:
We cannot take it all on. It depends on your stage of life as to how many battles you can take on. If you have 3-4 children, under six or seven, they will all be dealing with biggies and you will not be able to take on 6-8 battles every day. You will lose! Just by inconsistency you lose! Before you determine what is the important issues consider the family context. How many battles can you fight this week? If you choose carefully you will be up for battle next week! You will be winning!

To be honest, I often fight one big battle at a time. If I am dealing with obedience or submission, or lying then the rest can wait. Their turn will come. It doesn’t mean that I let mayhem reign, I use other less emotionally draining methods of dealing with these issues. Dealing with sin issues in our children’s hearts (Repentance, Forgiveness and Restoration) is a time consuming, emotionally draining process. But oh so worth it!

****Love Language:
Children need to know they are loved. (The five love languages are: physical touch and closeness, gifts, time, words of encouragement, acts of service) Refer to The Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman. Remember that young children need all expressions of love and that you can very rarely narrow it down to one primary language till after 7yo (at the earliest) and even then they still need a sprinkling of all expressions.

Website Updates
  • Be a Thinking Parent As a parent I must know my children, know my training goals. I cannot waft from this idea to that idea – I must be a thinking parent.

Looking for something you read a while back on my website? Check out my Sitemap and find your way around.

Lifestyle Homeschool Blog

Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter Knowing that homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, this newsletter comes out in small portions – one portion every week.
  • Being a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Using Resources in our Life – Spotlight on a particular resource and notes on how to use this in your life (not in a school room)
  • Character Education – Each month we focus on a different character trait – The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
  • Beyond the Quote – Take a moment to really think about that quote!
  • For those who are not into RSS feeds yet, the newsletter will serve to keep you updated with Lifestyle-Homeschool

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