Ever here the term "tomato staking" in reference to child care? I hadn't until I came across the Raising Godly Tomatoes website. The only reason I looked at the site initially was because it had a weird/cool name. I am SO grateful and thankful that I came across it. It's amazing!
As I was reading along the web page, I eventually got to the article called "Tomato Staking". You can read it for yourself here. The basic gist of the article is this: to discipline/train up your child, you must first know your child; to know your child, you must spend lots of time with your child. There's different variations of tomato staking, but basically, you are to involve you kid(s) in pretty much any and every activity you are doing so that you can monitor their behavior and attend to sin issues of the heart before discipline, spanking, or negative consequences are required. Not to say you won't ever have to discipline, but if you catch and correct the heart issue before it becomes sin, the need for discipline will be greatly reduced. It has completely changed how I view and interact with my children!
This past month or so, I have been trying (as much as I can) to tomato stake Arianna and Benjamin (esp. Benjamin because he's the one I have the most difficulty with). One would think that since I spend all my days at home that I would just "know" my kids, but I quickly discovered that I didn't. I used to think that Arianna was just an over-emotional female who whined all day because that's just something hormonal 3 years old did. But I've been realizing that she's very sensitive to schedule changes, stress in her environment, inconsistent parenting or rules, and the emotional states of others. When things are in order, when RD and I are consistent (in parenting, rules, and life in general), and she has limited options, she is way more at peace, is less whiney, and less emotional. I used to think Benjamin was out to hurt, destroy and annoy anything living. But since I've been tomato staking him, I realized that he retaliates because he's provoked (by Arianna), needs EXPLICIT instructions, and that he needs specific time limits for activities. I realized that my children rarely have nasty attitudes in their hearts. They truly want to please RD and I and are grieved when they know they sinned or have disobeyed/hurt us. I'm starting to understand their HEART rather than merely focusing on their actions. There's starting to be real training in our home rather than consequence after consequence after consequence. I'm not constantly chasing after them all day discipling them for bad behavior. I'm no longer resigning myself to the fact that "that's just what 2 and 3 years old are like... I just have to endure it." I'm actually starting to enjoy my children!!! I'm not saying my children were absolute hellions or anything, but we were having WAY TOO MANY discipline issues occurring during the day. It was getting to the point where I was starting to not like my kids because I couldn't get anything done all day besides discipline them.
If you're having lots of discipline issues with your kids, perhaps you should try reading that Raising Godly Tomatoes website. That lady has a LOT of Biblical insight and wisdom. We're no way from perfect in my home, but things are definitely a lot better as I am starting to learn my children and involve them in my life/activities.