Give Kids Big Truth to Grow Into

June 13, 2010, 0 Comments

I first learnt this from Tedd Tripp, author of “Instructing a Child’s heart”. It was much needed as my three-year-old has grown so much cognitively and emotionally. I was searching for lessons for his misbehaviour that will ‘root’ him for life.

I have been trying to give my best reasons for discouraging every wrong actions or behaviour when my toddler was about two-year-old. He was able to understand what I say, beyond the fundamental “No, don’t touch this” instruction. But my best is still not enough.

At about two and a half to three year old, children start to be aware of the many feelings they are feeling, although it was still difficult for them to pinpoint exactly how they feel. I had to discern and label those emotions for them. Particularly for boys, because, in general they were not an expressive lot and tend to be less upfront about expressing their emotions. We were able to identify fear, sadness, anger, selfishness, frustration, and most recently disappointments and embaressments. Isn’t that a rather wide range of emotions to handle for a three-year-old? It does often look too big to handle for a young child, in my opinion, and emotions take place in all shades at the least expected times. Yet it was all in the hands of our loving Father that I can only marvel and continue put my trust in.

So, in learning to label emotions, I had merely tried to help my son identify what he was feeling. There would be so many times, it was inappropriate to either continue feeling the same way or be acting in the way he was feeling. Sin has indeed cause us to feel or do wrong. The Bible in Proverbs 20:11 tells us “Even a child is known by his actions of whether his conduct is good and pure”. And so even a child is not excused by his wrongdoing, just because he is young.

Tedd Tripp in his books mentioned Humanism/behaviourism whose goal is to produce external change without a changing of the heart, whereas Biblical sowing effects the change of heart that are long-lasting. There! I have found it, truths are the stuff that will “root” our children for life.
Loving the word will help us discern between truth versus stuff that onlylooks like truth.

Discarding the world’s method of behavourism, we started giving kids big truth to grow into. Here are some examples.

Scenario: Child disobeys
Why do you need to obey mommy?
Child: Because it is right
(from having sung, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for it is right-” during our devotional time)

Obedience brings ….. (fill in the blank)
Child: Blessings

as opposed to (Behavourism)
mom: you need to obey because you need to.

Scenario – Child hits others with his hands
Mom: What did God make your hands for?
Child: To love others.
Mom: Can loving hands hit others?
Child: No.
(Prayer to help child enlist help of God to use his hands the way they were created)

as opposed to (Behaviourism)
Mom: Stop hitting others, its not nice

Scenario – Child is disappointed he was not able to ride in a train
(note: transportations are boys’ all time big favourite! Their love for transportations can be very intense.)
Child: I want to ride a train
Mom: No, we have to do that another day.
Child: cries
Mom: You are disappointed yes? its ok, you can cry. There was a time, mummy was disappointed too. Mummy wants to hire a maid mummy likes, but she was not available. Mummy cried for 3 days! But mummy knows we have a great God who has something better for me, so I stopped crying.

as opposed to (Behavourism)
mom: Its not convenient, now, stop crying and let’s go.

Scenario – Child does not want to share
Mom: Remember the story we learnt about the boy who shared his loaves and fish?
(From our devotional about “sharing”)
Child: Yes.
Mom: Jesus can use what you give to bless others. Blessing others makes you joyful!

as opposed to (Behaviourism)
mom: play together, see all your friends are sharing toys and are happy.
*note: Never use friends as a reason for doing good, because it is not a standard that is consistent across all situations. We wouldnt want our child to jump off the cliff just because his friends are doing it isnt it?

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