Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Guest Blogger: Cara Putman

Today's Guest Blogger is Cara Putman. You can read Cara's blog at:

Discipline. Just typing the word makes me shudder.

It has so many connotations. Definition two in Webster’s Dictionary is: a) training that develops self-control, character or orderliness and efficiency b) strict control to enforce obedience.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly need more of a) in my life. And I have a feeling if I had more orderliness, control and efficiency in my life, then it would sprinkle into the second part of the definition.

Disciplining children. The more I watch my children and evaluate how best to mold their character and habits, the more I realize that it really all comes down to me. Am I willing to be consistent with the rules of our household? Am I going to consistently expect my children to be polite? Kind? Giving? Helpful? When I do, they live up to those expectations unless I have allowed us to get out of our routine.

Case in point. The kids and I literally just returned from a long weekend away. A cousin got married, so it was a great weekend with family. It was also absolute chaos schedule-wise. Actually, there was no schedule. And my kids suffered for it. By last night when we reached my best friend’s house on the last leg of our trip, they were exhausted. So exhausted they asked if we could go home so they could sleep. But not before there were manner lapses and hysterical crying fits.

I’ll be honest. It was embarrassing. I want my friends and family to believe my children are the most well-behaved, perfect children created. Last night, I had to extend the grace to acknowledge that the lapses in decorum were partly my fault for cramming so much into a few days. They were also the result of reality. Outside of my home, it’s hard to keep things the way we all like them.

As I sit here tonight after eleven hours in the car with children who didn’t complain, I know they are wonderful kids. I just have to give them the orderliness they need to keep them happy AND well-behaved.


At Wednesday, 19 July, 2006, Blogger A. M. Wilson said...

Thanks, Cara! You're so right that a lot of what develops in our kids has to do with how consistent WE are as parents. I think that's one of the hardest parts, actually. :-/

Glad to hear you got home safely and praying you're able to settle back into some form of normalcy. :-)

At Wednesday, 19 July, 2006, Blogger Tricia Goyer said...

When my kids were young, I had a strict routine. Meal times, nap times, play times were mapped out. I hardly left the house! It worked, and they were peaceful, content kids.

Even now, they like "home." We eat dinner together, watch movies, spend time together throughout the day. In fact, after I got back from my recent trip, my 17-year-old walked into the living room and said, "Finally, my family is all back together again."

Vacations and even summer break is good, but families--in my opinion--thrive on routine and order.

At Wednesday, 19 July, 2006, Blogger Let Grace and Mercy flow . said...

Well, I agree that for my children and I, I have come under the false idea that children are not allowed to be children. Can we really expect a child to not have feelings of frustration, anxiety's or plan old I am totally exhausted? Aren't we living under some ideal that our children may never reach? I know for myself, I want the ideally "perfect child" but is there such one out there?

Great post, awesome topic.
Thanks, many blessings!

At Wednesday, 19 July, 2006, Blogger Tricia Goyer said...

Great point, Grace!

It's the same for teenagers too. For an article I was writing a while ago, I interviewed a nutritionist who said that 90% of our problems with teenagers has to do with bad diet and lack of rest.

It made me think how I would feel if I slept four hours a night and ate only sugary soda and junk food. I'd be MAJOR cranky with a BIG attitude problem.

We rarely have junk food around here. And, since we homeschool, I let me kids sleep in--sometimes to 9:30 or 10:00. As long as they get their work done, and can wake up early for their jobs when needed, I don't see a problem. And you know what, they're pretty nice to be around.

At Thursday, 20 July, 2006, Blogger Gina said...

I know routine is good, and we have a loose routine at our home because something always happens to break the routine. Actually, this summer has been lazy and unscheduled and we're all loving not running around.

My problem with scheduling is that every day during the school year we do get out, so every day looks a little different. I try to do things in the same order, but the times vary throughout the day.

And with four kids it's so hard keeping everyone on task. I came up with this card system and everytime they finish a task, they flip the card. Now instead of me going through their to do list all I have to say is "did you check your chart." It's saved me a lot of headache, but we're still learning this system and haven't mastered it. :)

At Thursday, 20 July, 2006, Blogger Tricia Goyer said...

I love the idea of the Card system! We have a List, and I've asked my husband to sign off every night.

Then, I'm not the one nagging all day about chores--they have to face DAD :-)


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