I love being a mom. Some days everything is great and wonderful and Haven and I have a ball together. But then there are those days when I feel like I do nothing but correct, discipline and try to rationalize with a three year old. Cale and I have always tried to be consistent in our disciplining and training of Haven, but sometimes consequences for her actions varied greatly throughout the day. Admittedly they would escalate as one of us would become increasingly frustrated with her actions. Far too often we were just reacting to her bad behavior and not doing as much training in the midst of our correction.
Enter the If-Then Chart from Doorposts.com. My friend, Julie, recently reminded me of this website and their great resources for Bible-based character training. The chart is a tool that lists off several different kinds of behavior that would result in negative consequences or discipline. For example, one of the topics is arguing, complaining and whining. It lists the "offense", scripture verses that speak to that behavior and then a blank spot where you can fill in the consequence that you decide is appropriate. We implemented this "system" a few weeks ago and Haven has responded wonderfully. Not only does she seem to be growing in her understanding of self control and making better choices about her actions, but it has helped Cale and I immensely. It keeps us accountable to follow through each and every time their is an issue to deal with and because we know we need to "go to the chart" to read the Bible verse and check what the consequence is, we are no longer disciplining in anger. We are consistent because it's all laid out and it doesn't matter who is doing the discipline, the consequence will be the same.
What I love about this new system (that sounds so strange, but I can't think of a better word for it!) is that it isn't just the If-Then Chart. The other piece to our new system is The Blessing Chart. This is what we call the happy chart! It is set up the same way the If-Then Chart is with the behavior listed in one column (like cheerfulness and thankfulness), a scripture verse in the middle and then your desired "blessing" in the last column. Haven loves the Blessing Chart. Again, we have been amazed at the way she has responded so positively to this. While we don't want to get caught up in rewarding Haven for expected behavior, this chart goes above and beyond that and helps us to encourage the good that we see in Haven and nurture those godly attributes.
Not only can these charts be catered to your family and what you decide are appropriate consequences and blessings, they can grow with your kids. It's perfect for us with a preschooler, but could be equally effective with older school age children. I can't recommend these highly enough! They are also inexpensive and ours arrived very quickly after ordering. The back of the charts also lists some suggestions for consequences/blessings if you have trouble coming up with your own.
I'm so thankful that we were reminded of this great resource that encourages godly behavior not only in Haven, but in Cale and I as well. It gently reminds us to discipline in love when she needs it, but to also be her biggest encourager and to praise the good we see. It's already made a difference in our family in just a few short weeks!