Monday, May 1, 2017

The Power Of No!

Back at the beginning of March Michael and I started taking a parenting class at church. Not that we honestly thought we needed to take a parenting class, but mainly because we thought it would be nice to hang out with other parents. 

Parenting on Purpose is a DVD class lead by a guy that heads up Sheridan House. It's basically a home for troubled boys. He's been quite entertaining to watch. I don't feel like the class has been boring at all. 

The biggest principle that you learn about is The Power Of No! I knew that I needed to say no to my kids for certain things and that they needed to listen and obey when I said no, but this takes that a step further. It's about ultimately teaching your kids to say no to themselves. No...I'm not going to sleep in because that means I have to go to bed early (consequence for not getting up on time) and I don't want to go to bed early. No...I don't want to be at this party anymore because they started drinking and I won't be able to attend another party for a month (consequence for staying at a party with unacceptable behavior) when Dad finds out that I stayed. Helping them to see that there is power in saying no to themselves. It's really been eye opening! I know I do that to myself all the time....wanting something at the store, but knowing we haven't budgeted for that so I say no to myself and walk out without buying it. But to trying to teach my children these skills when they are young wasn't necessarily something I had thought about. 

We've started making sure our no...meant no and we had clear cut consequences for bad behavior. Such as if there is arguing both parties have to sit in a chair for 5 minutes with no talking. Talking results in 5 more minutes. We don't lecture them we let the consequence speak for itself. If they start right back into arguing then they go right back into the chair. It seems simple, but it's difficult when you are stressed at the end of the day. 

The guy...honestly you'd think I'd know his name by now....that's teaches the class does some things different in regards to money. We've been following Dave Ramsey's money advice for the kids, but after hearing this guys we decided to blend the two together to make something that worked for us. The kids now have daily tasks that they have to do and weekly tasks that they have to do. They do not get paid for these tasks because they live in our house, get fed, clothed and so on. They each get a monthly allowance that is the amount of their age. Owen gets $10, Jack gets $8, Ella gets $7 and Zeke gets $4. Now that doesn't mean that they can't earn more money throughout the month. If we would like them to do another tasks that they don't normally do and we feel like they deserve to get paid for it we will ask them what they would charge us to do that job. This lets them practice the art of negotiation! We still have the kids set aside their money into their envelopes.....give, save and spend. 

One of the big things for the tasks you have your kids do is not to remind them. They need to learn to be responsible and reminding them every time just hinders that. They honestly can do it...we just don't like to see them fail so we play safety net and save them all the time. I do feel like having a visual reminder in place for them is okay. I have my calendar so I don't forget things so I felt like this wasn't breaking the rules. I do not remind them though. The chart above shows Owen's daily task is unloading and loading the dishwasher, Jack's is vacuuming and sweeping the first floor, Ella's is cleaning and setting the table for dinner and Zeke's is feeding the cat. The jobs are geared of course towards there age. 

The rule with the daily tasks is they have to be completed by 4pm along with any homework they might have. Once those are finished the kids are allowed electronic time from 4 - 6pm every night. This is a big deal with our kids. They have really loved knowing that everyday they are guaranteed to have electronic time. The catch is if they don't finish both of those and then go on electronics anyway then they forfeit their electronic time and then either Michael or I will do their task they have to complete the consequence. They also know that dinner is going to fall somewhere during that time. I usually have dinner on the table at 5pm so life is going to interrupt their plans. That's just how life is though and they need to understand that. Dinner doesn't take that long so they can still have some electronic time afterwards. 

To make things very clear I went ahead and made checklists for the kids for each of their tasks. That way there is no mistaking what should be done. There are the steps to completing the task and then the consequence for not completing the tasks. In this case if Owen went on electronics and had not completed his task of unloading and loading the dishwasher I would do that job for him, he would forfeit the rest of his electronic time and then he would do the consequence. The consequence for this task is clearing everything off the counter, cleaning the counters, the inside of the microwave, the top of the stove and then mopping the kitchen floor. The consequence is supposed to be harder and take longer, but also fit the crime per se. Since Owen was going to be cleaning dishes and that's something in the kitchen we feel like this consequence is just an extension of that because it's also cleaning the kitchen just in another way. 

I also made a weekly task chart. Owen's weekly task is to vacuum the upstairs, Jack's is to bring down the laundry and sort it, Ella's is to clean the kids bathroom and Zeke's....which you can see he'd already finished is to empty the recycle. Again the jobs are geared towards their age. The weekly tasks are also assigned a day. Owen and Ella's weekly task needs to be completed on Saturday, Jack's needs to be done on Tuesday because I do laundry on Wednesdays and Zeke's needs to be finished on Monday since the recycle goes out on Tuesdays. 

I also made checklists for the weekly tasks. These are hung up in the room where the task is to be this is hung on the laundry room wall. It gives Jack in this case clear instructions so he knows exactly what to do and how to do it. Again we can't remind of writing this Jack has forgotten to do his weekly task twice now. His consequence for not doing this is to put away all the kids clothes and that includes all their hang ups. The thing is you are supposed to pit the kids against themselves and not you. They can't be mad at me because this was completely in their control. If he had brought the laundry down there would be no consequence. There are consequences with everything...some are good and some are bad. When he gets older if he forgets to do a task that his boss assigned him it could mean he loses his job. Real life is tough and I'd rather the kids learn that now while the consequence is something as easy as putting away everyone's laundry. Another thing is once the kids do get it we are supposed to get crazy excited for them. They are awesome kids and we know that and really they need to see that they are awesome and they can be responsible. Once they do that we need to get stoked for them....or as the guy on the DVD says...jacked up! 

One of the things the guy talks about is how you can quickly figure out what type of person your child is when you start using this method. Do you have a pleaser or a barbarian. I knew that Owen was most likely a pleaser just because of his personality and his temperament. I would say that Ella is also a pleaser as well. Jack might be a barbarian...still trying to figure that out. Zeke is most definitely a barbarian. His weekly job is recycle and he did not want to do it. I told him that was fine, but he would have to do the consequence. The consequence is emptying all the garbages in the whole house. So I set out to do his job which took me all of 7 minutes or so. Of course I know it would have taken him longer since he's smaller, but honestly it would have taken drastically less time than emptying all the garbages. I think it took him 45 minutes after I was finished with the recycle. When I was finished with the recycle I did make a point to just happily say..."Wow...I'm all finished with my job....that was fast!" When he was finished I asked him if the garbage was easier than the recycle and he said yes! He was not going to give me the satisfaction of telling me it was harder and he should have just finished the recycle. I will say that the following week he decided to take out the recycle! :) 

The most recent lesson has been about giving your kids a philosophy of life. What's the main thing you want to strive for in life. It's our job to guide and be good examples for our kids to follow. Our main goal is to point our kids towards Jesus. I don't want them to follow Jesus just because we do. I know that's not a deep enough commitment for them to follow Him all the days of their lives. I want them to know Jesus personally and come to love Him and have faith in Him on their own. That way they know for sure this was their decision and not just something they followed along with. 

Michael and I have always read some sort of storybook Bible to the kids at night. Usually during the summer we slack off, but we've been trying really hard to be consistent with it. Right now we are reading through The LEGO Brick Bible. If you've never seen it it's a Bible that's like a comic book and all the scenes are made up of LEGO pieces. It's so funny at times! The kids love it. It does dive into parts of the Bible that typically storybook Bibles avoid. The Old Testament is legit full of a lot of war and blood!!! I would definitely not recommend this Bible for younger kids. There have been parts where we've had to skip because it was talking about rape or something else I didn't want to dive into at that time. We are almost finished with the New Testament and I think after that we might just start reading the actual Bible. We are planning to sign the kids up for Awanas next September so they are going to be memorizing Bible verses so why not just start reading the actual Word of God! 

Michael and I have also started to sit in a circle with our kids, hold hands and then each of us prays at night before bed. I love love hearing what's on their hearts!!! It's also nice for them to hear adults pray for them or for others or just praise God's name. I'm not saying that adults pray better, but it's good for them to hear that we are praying for their future spouse or that were praying for someone that's been injured and it's not just that we are praying selfishly all the time. It's been a really precious time for our family. 

We still have two lessons left and I'm excited to see what else we are going to learn from this class.