Many times as parents we think that getting into ruts is a bad thing. We desire not to be constrained by a pattern. We have been told the ruts destroy creativity. Yet children want stability in their life. Many studies have proven that children flourish with routines. Routines bring consistency and structure. Remember in Hebrews 13:8 it states: “Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” Christ is the very center of consistency. As parents, one of the many areas where ruts would help is the area of discipline. Consistency is preached as one of the goals of parenting. Ruts in discipline allow our children to understand what the consequences are for disobedience before the disobedience occurs.
This is helpful in two ways:
Ruts in discipline help the parents avoid rash, angry responses to disobedience.
Ruts in discipline teach children the lesson that disobedience brings consequences.
When my son was 3 years old he struggled with biting when he got mad. I sat down with him and told him that every time he bites someone he would receive two disciplines. I wrote it out on a sheet of paper and he “signed” his name next to mine. When he bit his sister, we walked back to his room and I read him the paper. I did not have to say anything. He looked at me, turned around and said, “Daddy, I am ready for my discipline.” Now, know that it was not always as easy, mind you, but it gave us both something on which to depend.
How to establish ruts in parenting:
- Write down each child’s top three areas of disobedience.
- Come up consequences for each disobedience.
- Sit down with each child separately and explain how you will be handling things and moving forward.
- If you want to date it and both sign that paper, this will hold both of you accountable.
- Remember, you never parent with a blind fold. You, as the parent, are in charge. If something needs to change–you change it.
Ruts are dependable and help point us in a consistent direction. We need to make sure that our ruts are pointing our children down a path which leads to God. Proverbs 3:5-6
The goal of parenting is not raising “good” children, but children who love and pursue hard after God, seeking to glorify Him in all things.
Blog by Tim Yorgey