I love the folks over at the National Center for Biblical Parenting! So much, in fact, that we're bringing their entire team to Johnson Ferry on March 11-12, 2011 for a big weekend parenting conference. (Mark your calendars now!)
Here's their most recent post on teaching kids to take a break, calm down, and be ready to talk about their behavior. It's all about the heart, people!
Here's what they had to say...
When children need correction, it's often helpful to have them take a Break. This technique follows a biblical model of correction and focuses on a child's heart, not just behavior. You can use a Break with children as young as two years old and, with modification, you can use it throughout the teen years. Developing this correction routine when children are young gives them a way to handle offenses as they get older as well.
Taking a Break looks like this. When your daughter is arguing, acting wild, demonstrating defiance, or starting to get angry, tell her that she needs to take a Break. The specific place will vary depending on the situation. With young children, that place may be on the floor in front of the refrigerator or near the bookcase, close to where you are working. For older children it may mean sitting on the bottom step or in the hall. The location isn't as important as the mission: settle down and come back ready for a debriefing.
When your child takes a Break, it's important to let him or her help determine the length of time spent there. A child should settle down and then be ready to come back and talk to you. Allowing your child to initiate back when ready is important. If Johnny is ready after a minute and you require that he stay in the Break for fifteen minutes, you may discourage him or miss a teachable moment. On the other hand, if you set the time too short, then you may not be giving enough time for God to fully work. Take the focus off the clock and put it on the heart change that needs to take place.
Your posture, as a parent, is also important. You have the opportunity to stand with open arms, longing for your child to return. It's as if you're saying, "Come on now, settle down, and let's talk about this together."
Luke 15:20 offers us a beautiful image of a father waiting for his rebellious son to come back to him. The son views home as a place of safety and, although he knows he doesn't deserve to return to the same benefits, he realizes that he can come back and Dad will accept him. The dad not only welcomes him home but also reinstates all the benefits of being a son. That same picture is painted each time your child takes a Break. You can be ready and waiting for your child to return to you talk about the problem and then enjoy family life.
This parenting tip comes from the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character In You and Your Kidsby Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN,BSN.
If you would like to receive parenting tips like this yourself, you can sign up at www.biblicalparenting.org.