My husband and I attended a John Rosemond seminar at our then church in an Atlanta suburb when our son was a toddler/infant. I really don’t remember. I just know we were new parents back in 2006/2007. We were trying to learn all we could about parenting. At least I was, and I convinced him to go with me to here this guy speak at our church.
We were blessed that day with wit and wisdom. One thing that stuck: “Sometimes you need to kick your kid(s) out of the Garden of Eden.” John Rosmond is a father and psychologist. He isn’t speaking from fiction…he is speaking from facts. He speaks the Truth with his own true stories. He is a man of God and a human like us who has sinned, fallen short, and recognizes that our kids are just like us.
Our kids will fall short. Our kids will make mistakes. Our kids need consequences.
Picture yourself at our house. We have two boys ages 10 and 7 years. I need to document this for our own parenting files and perhaps to coach you as you parent. Or not, your choice.
Choices are a part of life. Choices are what got our sons in trouble at dinner time this past Tuesday evening. I won’t go into details about their poor choice because they are forgiven.
Let’s just say that when my husband left the garage and entered back into the house he was very stern and quite angry with our boys. We had a family “meeting” over dinner. We always (try to) have dinner as a family. This Tuesday night we had a lot to discuss.
Our boys had been at home for the day with my mom (aka “Granny) as I was at work and they are still out of school for winter break. My husband and I were thankful that our sons were “so good” for Granny. Perhaps we all save our best behavior for others and allow our mistakes to fall within the sweet space of “home” and dear friends/family.
Our home is a Garden of Eden. Our kids have it good. We have it good.
Tuesday night we had to kick our kids out of the garden. They made a bad choice. We as parents had to quickly come up with consequences and we did. Our John Rosemond training has come in handy so often as we have parented. I highly recommend his books and website to you if you’re a parent/caregiver. The Bible is always a great guide.
As parents we chose to discipline the boys with the following:
- No screens for all of Wednesday. If, behavior reflects good choices screens will be returned Thursday 6 a.m. Yes, we had to put a specific timeline on it because we have a ten year old lawyer in our house. No tablets, phones, TV, computers, or any other electronic device.
- Make them verbally admit the mistake as their own. Our ten year old son had to call his friend in the neighborhood and cancel the planned sleepover for Tuesday night. He had to tell him that “My brother and I made a bad choice and are in trouble. We cannot have you spend the night tonight.” Verbally on the phone this was easy for “the Lawyer.” The co-defense, our other son, wanted to place the blame on dad, “The Judge.” I said “no.” As the jury I found our sons guilty and handed that recommended sentence to “The Judge.” They were sentenced and needed to accept the consequences as their own. The seven year old “co-Defense Attorney” crumbled and cried.
- They had to shower in the kid bathroom versus the larger adult master bathroom. Yes, this is a part of their “Garden of Eden” situation. They like our bathroom better. I don’t blame them; I do too. We’ll share the good stuff if they “follow the lay of our land.” Plus they are boys; a reward is skipping a bath/shower.
- They had to get ALL their chores done before bed. Yes, they had delayed their chores or ignored them through the WHOLE day. I know, chores “should” be done daily, but I learned long ago not to use “should statements” with myself or others.
- They had to go to bed early for “hassle time.” Hassle time is another GENIUS parenting technique that I learned via a MOPS speaker. If your kid(s) “hassles” you (i.e. they are naughty in some way shape or form) then you tell them: “This is hassle time.” While they do said naughty tantrum/behavior you have time to pause. You have time to think of a consequence. You can delay the verbal consequence until you figure it out in your head. Take your time. Sometimes the best consequence is them having to wait to find out what the punishment will be! We love making our kids go to bed early. You hassle me, you owe me some me time later. It works great. Again, John Rosemond recommends sending kids to bed early because often they and you are tired! I totally agree. Parenting and being a kid are exhausting.
So…after those six punishments were enforced our kids had a great Wednesday and so did we. We laughed over a family game of colorful Jenga-like game with a whacko name that I don’t recall because our seven year old added 100+ items to his Amazon wish list and his sweet Texas aunt and uncle sent it for Christmas. We also got our kids to “straighten up” and “appreciate the Garden.” They will be nicer today, too hopefully when they get their screens back! We all need balance in our lives. Sometimes taking time away to be quiet is the best thing we can do. Play outside. Take a walk. Read a book. Look up. Close your eyes. Look for the Light. We all have moments in and outside “The Garden.” Celebrate today and pray often.