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Disciplining Your Kids With Grace

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
October 2, 2023 2:00 am

Disciplining Your Kids With Grace

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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October 2, 2023 2:00 am

Karis Kimmel Murray reminds parents that we need to stay calm in the midst of misbehavior, look for the reason behind the behavior and gives a “sushi menu” of discipline tactics, including tagging bad behavior, putting things in a “basket,” and teaching the behavior you want to see. She ends with insights into children’s “currency” and age-appropriate consequences.


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Hey, it's Jim Daly here. Just so you know, it's time. Time for a challenge. Time to not only be a Christian, but live your faith. Bring Your Bible to School Day is the next Live It Challenge on October 5th. Nationwide, kids will team up to share the gospel at their schools. To learn more or register your children for the first time, visit His word gives us confidence. So let's live it up. And it was just her form of protest. She was all done. She knocked all those shoes off of the aisles and it looked like a bomb went off in the shoe department at Walmart. And I just stood there and I went, this is not something that I've ever read about in a parenting book.

I don't know what to do. Well, hopefully you haven't had a toddler meltdown in the store. Our guest on Focus on the Family, Charis Kimmel-Murray, has, and she'll have some ideas on what to do in those situations and how to handle your kids, even when they're at their worst.

Your host is Focus President and author, Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. Kids at their worst just doesn't happen, John. Not in my household. I've never had that experience. Never, no.

Into somebody else's house. You know, today we do. This is our heart. We want to equip you as a mom or a dad to do a better job. And I hope you have an appetite.

I believe you have an appetite, like we do, to want to do a better job in raising our kids, how to figure out how to be a little more effective in our parenting. You know, Hebrews 12, 6, it says, For the Lord disciplines the one He loves. And I think that's wonderful. It's a powerful reminder that we need to respond to our kids the way God responds to us. There is such a parallel in parenting between our relationship with God and then how we parent our children. Here at Focus, we want to be that daily resource for you in your parenting journey and to be here for you. So call us if you need us, and we'll have more information about that. And one great resource, Jim, that we have is Charis' book.

It's the subject of our conversation today. It's called Grace-Based Discipline. How to be at your best when your kids are at their worst. And this is a fantastic resource with age-appropriate advice for parenting that you can apply to your own family right today. Learn more about Charis and her book. Just give us a call, 800, the letter A in the word family, or you can find details in the show notes. Charis, welcome to Focus on the Family for the first time.

Hi, thank you so much for having me. We've had your mom and dad, Dr. Tim Kimmelon and Darcy, your mom, and wonderful. I love their theme on grace-based parenting. And now you're following up and going a little deeper specifically with grace-based discipline. It's running in the family, isn't it? Yes.

Yeah. I mean, our ministry family matters. We have one channel, and that channel is grace. And we just love to see hearts transformed by the power of God's grace. And then for that transformation to extend to all of our relationships, whether that's with our spouse. And I think it's wonderful.

I really do. Now, let's get to it. You believe parents have something to learn from firefighters.

Okay, everybody's going, what? Firefighters, what can we learn in our parenting role from firefighters? Well, actually, my brother is a firefighter with the Phoenix Fire Department. And so, you know, I saw a lot of parallels with parenting because honestly, our kids' behavior very often creates an emergency situation in our homes.

You know, maybe physically an emergency situation, but I mean more emotionally. And they just do stuff that just lights us up, lights a fire under us. And so we need to function like first responders.

We need to be able to be calm and approach those situations with our kids the way a firefighter approaches one. And something I didn't know, but that my brother taught me is that firefighters never run into a burning building. You would think that they do. And we see that on TV. So we just assume they, you know, come out of the truck and they run straight in.

And that's really not how it goes. I mean, obviously, they are in a hurry. They're trying to be fast, but they're wearing all their gear. And they also don't always know exactly what they're coming into. So they're taking their time to approach the situation, to assess what's going on, to make sure that they don't expend themselves before they're even in it. And that way, once they're in the building, they can rescue who needs rescued. They can get the fire put out.

They can respond instead of react. And the analogy there is for the parents to walk briskly. Don't run into a calamity. Don't run into a calamity.

Walk briskly. Obviously, we have to respond quickly. And sometimes with our kids, that's split second. But I guess I mean, I'm using it as a metaphor for how we have to keep our emotions in check. You, in fact, had a Wal-Mart experience that brought you, I think, to your knees a little.

You tell yours, I'll tell mine. Well, my girls again, we're younger. I think a lot of this stuff, you know, hits you hard on the front side of kind of the heavy lifting years of parenting, which is when they're, you know, Is it because moms particularly are tired and, you know, maybe dads too, but moms, I think, carry that load. I mean, it's just a lot. And dads are tired and the developmentally where the kids are, they just need everything. They need everything done for them. They're learning everything and they need correction and everything because that's the only way that they, you know, form their personalities and their selves into, you know, contributing members of society. And they're definitely not that when they, when they're two year olds.

And so I think my youngest one was she was still in like a in a baby carrier and my older one was two. And we'd been sick for like five weeks and we were out of everything in our home. We had no groceries. We had no toilet paper. We had no nothing. We just needed everything. So, you know, I psyched myself up to go on this run with both of my kids by myself to Walmart. And I was spent because I've been sick as well. And so I mean, I had them in the cart and my strategy was just to literally run through Walmart as fast as I could grab everything. I mean, it was like supermarket sweep.

Remember that? Yeah, we know that feeling. And trying to just get it done.

And it would have been fine. I would have been successful, except that my older one just really, really hated to be restrained. I just in a moment of weakness, I'm like, yeah, you can walk.

You know, she's two. Yeah, you can walk, which all the veteran moms and dads are hearing that going, yep, that's where you went wrong right there. So I'm running through getting everything and my flip flop broke. I live in Phoenix, Arizona, and we wear flip flops pretty much year round. My flip flop had broken. So I had a flat and I would have just probably dealt with it and just had one shoe on and walked out to my car, except for the fact that it was July in Phoenix and the asphalt is probably 300 degrees. And I would have burned my foot. And so I was like, well, at least I'm at Walmart, I can go buy some shoes.

And so I'm like, the last thing I'm going to do, grab some sandals, I'll buy the first pair that I find, I don't care how ugly they are. And then we'll check out, we'll go home. And so we were in the shoe department. And she just, she was all done. And so she stood on one end of an aisle of shoes. And she put her two little arms out to each side. And they were long enough that she could stand on one end of the aisle, she could walk to the other side and knock all the boxes of shoes on both sides on both sides, just like walking. And it was just her form of protest. She was all done.

She knocked all those shoes off of you know, the aisles and it looked like a bomb went off in the shoe department at Walmart. And I just stood there and I went this, this is not something that I've ever read about in a parenting book. I don't know what to do. So what did you do? Did you just go, spill on aisle four, I gotta leave? Well, it's one of those situations where you run through scenarios in your head and you think like, how quickly could I run out of the store carrying these two kids like a football, you know, just like a football on each side. Yeah, make my husband go later. And I was like, well, I can't do that. And so so you got to check out.

We did get through checkout, but mom right there. But so when you look at it, let's move into the grace based discipline aspect of this again, because I think temperament plays a role in this in terms of makeup of mom and dad, you know, some parents and some people are rule followers, and that's very important to them. And others are maybe like your daughter knocking shoes off the aisle, but they're like 23. Yeah, not so much into the rules.

Yeah. How does that play into the grace based approach of discipline and define it for us? And then we get into all that? Well, grace based parenting, and grace based discipline is simply treating our kids the way that God treats us. And we know that God disciplines us because it says so in the Bible. And so we're just simply following the example that God sets with his children, because that's what we are. We're God's children.

He's our parent. Now I hear that describe it for me, how God disciplines us. So well, God, I mean, God approaches his relationship with us. It's all because of grace.

I mean, the only way we're able to have a relationship with a holy God is because of grace. And so when he disciplines us, he's doing it for our good. And when he's punishing us, there's a huge difference between punishment and discipline.

And I go into that in my book. Punishing is often out of vindictiveness or anger, where the grace based approach is out of love for the person. But it doesn't to the critic who's going to say, that's just too soft. You know, especially those dads that can be pretty heavy handed, and not to stereotype, I get it, but oftentimes the temperament of the heart style is with the dad.

I do it because I said to do it. Yeah. Well, we have to balance rules and relationships. You know that that's really, really important. And I think Josh McDowell said rules without relationship leads to rebellion. And, and, and my dad, Tim Kimmel kind of has expanded on that. And he says, but a relationship without rules leads to resentment.

So we've got to have both. If we don't have boundaries with our kids, they resent us because it doesn't prepare our kids for the life that they're going to face someday for the world that they're going to face. If they don't understand how to respond to authority, how to follow rules, how to have, you know, self discipline in their life. So we're not we're not being gracious when we don't have rules and boundaries for our kids.

And grace does not mean a lack of rules, because that's not how God treats us. Caris, you mentioned a tactic in the book, which I found a little interesting. I want you to expand on it. You talk about putting things in the basket, kind of the I think the bad behavior, the poor behavior, whatever it might be. What are you getting at to help parents understand to put those bad things in a basket? Yeah, yeah, that's right in the intro of my book, because I feel like it's a first step before you do anything else. And this goes back to what we were talking about with firefighters and being able to respond and not react. You've got to get your emotional reactions under control before you can really think before you can analyze and respond.

And so what the basket exercises is, you know, you imagine a basket or some kind of a container. And I like to, you know, visualize my kid, the things that they're doing that are annoying you or bothering you or that are wrong or that are hurting you. Whatever it is, I imagine those behaviors almost like weights that are hanging off of my kids.

I see them as external, right? It's not their heart. It's not their heart, right? We're separating their behavior from their heart. And so the way you do this is you just imagine those behaviors hanging off your children like weights, and then you imagine yourself one by one, you know, name it, being untruthful, or talking back or hitting their sister. You just imagine those things and you pull them off of your kid, you put them in a basket, and then you walk that basket into another room and put it up on a shelf. What does that benefit you, the parent?

Well, the way that it benefits you is that it emotionally removes the threat. Because we go into sort of a fight or flight response a lot of the time in situations with our kids, when our kids have knocked all the shoes off of the aisle in Walmart. We're embarrassed. We're angry. We're annoyed. We just, it kind of lights us up.

And that would be a reaction. And very often our own emotions and reactions are going to steer us towards what's best for us, not what's best for our kids. So true. So when you remove those, you can separate the behavior from their heart and really see them for who they are. And what I like is how you tie that then to the long view. This is probably for me, and I don't know about you, Jon, but for me, this is the aha in my parenting experience.

And I feel like I finally got it. And that is to take the long view. And you talk about that in your book by thinking 10 years down the line with that behavior that they're expressing. And you need to absorb some of that.

You certainly deal with it and talk about it, especially in a spiritual context. But it'll take some of the sting out of it if you think about, are they going to be doing this at 30? Yeah.

Probably not. Yeah. And that's the key, isn't it? That's the key.

Yeah. My dad has a great line that he says, never drive in a thumbtack with a sledgehammer. He used to always say that to us when we were kids.

And I'm like, I do not understand what this thing means, you know. But then once I had kids, I got it. It's really easy to overreact to things that aren't that important or to underreact to things that are really important. For the parents who have not caught that idea of grace, I guess there's two parts to this question.

One is we can only dispense grace if we know grace. Yeah. So speak to that. And then secondly, how do you know you're struggling, that you're not blind, that you don't have a blind spot?

You think you're grace-filled, but you're actually more rules-oriented. Yeah. How do you take a quick self-assessment? So those are two big questions. Two big questions.

Well, let me answer the first one first. I think a great biblical definition of grace is getting something that we desperately need but don't necessarily deserve. Right. And God gives us that. I mean, Christ's death on the cross and his payment for our sin, we don't deserve it. We don't deserve to have a relationship with a holy God based on our own merits.

Even if we're, you know, quote, unquote, good people, we're not perfect. And so we receive that grace from God because he said, I'm not going to judge you based on your sin. I am going to allow my son's righteousness to be laid over top of you, to be sufficient for you.

So that's biblical grace. And it doesn't mean that there are no rules and that God doesn't want us to obey him. Of course he wants us to obey him. He's a good father, but he doesn't want us to obey him for his sake. He wants us to obey him for our sake. And for our love for him. And out of love for him, yeah, as a response. So number one is just feeling that grace yourself and making sure you know forgiveness and you understand it. And then you can give it to your kids in this case. You didn't do anything to earn Christ's favor, you know, God's favor.

You didn't do anything to earn his love and you can't do anything to earn it. You mentioned in your great book, Grace Based Discipline, you talk about the sushi menu. Not everybody eats sushi.

So we got to talk about this. What is the sushi menu of discipline tactics? Well, I came around to calling it a sushi menu because if you ever have eaten at a sushi restaurant, it's not like other restaurants where you kind of pick one main menu item and that's what you get.

With sushi it's just a couple of pieces so you can order a lot of stuff to make a full meal. And so the analogy there is that with discipline tactics, very rarely are you going to just do one thing that you're always going to do in every situation that's always going to work. You need to have a lot of different strategies and tactics that you think through in advance. And so when you are facing something with your kids, you can order a little of this, you can do a little of that. You're going to take a multi-pronged approach to dealing with discipline issues with your kids.

Yeah, that's good. Let's run through a few of those to give the listeners an idea. What are some of the sushi menu options in parenting tactics? In parenting tactics, yes.

So the first one at the top of the list and the reason it's there is because this is one of the things that I say, if you don't know what else to do and if you can't do anything else for whatever reason in the moment, do this one thing. And I call this tag behavior, tagging behavior. And what this means is if your child does something, it simply means naming the thing that they're doing. Example? Example. So if your child says something that isn't true, you just say, what you just said was not true.

We're truthful in our home. And that's tagging behavior. Or they're violent, they lash out and they smack you and you can grab their little hand and say, we don't hit.

That was hitting. So you name it for what it is. So you name it for what it is. It conditions them to know that you know.

Right. And here, I mean, this is a little bit of, you know, it's almost like training an animal. And I'm not comparing our kids to animals, although sometimes.

Sometimes there are some applications. It's fair, you're training them what's right and what's wrong. But it's almost like clicker training. I don't know if you've ever seen a dog trainer do this. They give a click and then they give a treat or a positive reinforcement after that. But what they're doing is they're immediately marking the behavior that they want with a little, you know, and then they treat.

Because you can't even pull the reinforcement out fast enough to really help the animal know that's exactly right. And so you can do this with positive things that you want as well. You can say, oh, I love how you were so kind right there. Right. You know, but you can also do it with negative behavior that you don't want. I think it's important, too, to remember that, you know, in a moment, to do the positive things, too. Yeah, do the positive things, too.

And not just always the negative things. Right. All right, tagging behavior.

So tag behavior. Pardon. Yeah, and you can pardon.

You can choose to say. You've got that authority? Right, you do.

You have that authority. But remember, you've tagged the behavior. Right.

So you're not saying nothing. You're not just completely letting it go. You've tagged the behavior. You've named it.

They know that you recognized it. Right. But you can choose in that moment to say, you know, we're not going to do anything more right now. But next time. But I don't want to see that happen again.

Right. You can choose to ignore it. Some types of behavior we actually reinforce by responding to them.

That's true. Things like whining or, you know, negative attention seeking behaviors that our kids do if we say don't do that, don't yell. You know, we're kind of pulling back on them and it's almost causing them to get more riled up and lean forward. Let's end here.

And you touched on this as well. And that is age appropriate kind of consequences. Parents. This is the biggest question parents have.

You know, our kids are three and five. What are the right kind of consequences to employ? You break it down to toddlers, preschoolers, school aged children, tweens and teens.

Just give us a couple of examples. So, you know, I talk in my book about a concept called developmental currency when it comes to choosing appropriate consequences for our kids. For something to be an effective consequence, it has to cost something. Right.

Right. And by some kind of pain, and I don't just mean physical pain, that could be it, but I really mean more emotional pain. An ouch. Something that is an ouch, right, that trains them that this is not what we want to have happen. But if it's going to cost them something, they have to pay for it in their currency, something that they value.

If we're asking them to give up something that they don't value, that's not going to be an effective consequence. So let's talk about toddlers because I think a lot of your listeners have kids in that age range. And a lot of the people I talk to, this is where they're struggling. A toddler's currency is having, is possessing something. And this just follows a developmental, you know, pattern.

Their brains are developing. Mine. So mine. Right, exactly. You see it happen. You've experienced that, I see.

Both as a child and as a parent. If they can see it, they assume that it belongs to them. Right.

You know, if they see it and they want it, they say mine. And so it doesn't help them. It's not an effective consequence to say, you know, if you do that again, you're not going to be able to go to the park with Billy next Thursday. Right, they're not connecting all those dots. They don't care about Billy. They don't know when next Thursday is.

And they, you know, they can't even conceive of going to the park next Thursday. That's not effective. So what is effective?

So what is effective is immediately removing maybe something in their possession or removing them from the situation that they're in. We call this the Vulcan transport. Right.

You're at this point, you're bigger than your child. You can pick them up and move them quickly. And so teleport.

Yeah, teleport. Right. So you kind of, if you're at home or if you're even, you know, out at a store, you can quickly kind of grab them real quick and you can move them to another place, whether it's back into their room, do it quickly.

You're not going to, it doesn't hurt, you're not causing them any physical pain, but it's a jolt. And it just kind of takes them out of their head for a minute. And then you can say, we don't, whatever it is that they do, you're going to sit here a minute. Right. And then we'll go back.

And they go, ouch. So it's a correction. Yeah. So that's toddlers. You got preschoolers and school-aged children. Let's pick a tween. Let's do a tween one. Yeah, because tweens is kind of the other, you know.

Hopefully they're not saying mine at this point, but they could be. Well, they kind of are, but in more sophisticated language. Right. And so a tween's currency is belonging. Yeah.

Right. Social. They want, yes, they're trying to find their place in the world. It's really important to them to fit in. And so all the things that go along with that, whether it's, you know, fitting in means having the type of possessions that they think they need to have to fit in or being able to go the places that they want to go to fit in or do the things or being around their friends, even if your child is more of an introvert, that is still their currency.

Sure. So you need to, you know, if you're going to give them a consequence for something, you need to act on that currency. And so maybe that means you repossess their phone or devices for a certain period of time or that means that you don't allow them to go somewhere that they've wanted to go. You have to really know your kid and know what makes them tick. What's important to them. What's important to them. But that belonging is really driving a lot of what they're doing. And it's really good.

And of course, if the toddler or the tween isn't hitting where you're at in your parenting spot, Keris's book, Grace Based Discipline, will cover the other areas. Get a copy. I mean, here at Focus on the Family, we want to equip you. We want you to do the job as best as you can do. And it's hard to do it without a manual, honestly. I'd love to parent the second time, which I think is called grandparent, right?

From a distance. But it's such, you learn it and then you learn so much through the process that you don't get to apply again because it's done. But these are the great things that people have learned, Keris and her family. And I think this is one of those resources that can really help you. So for a gift of any amount, help the ministry here at Focus to touch parents and to help them do a better job in their parenting. And our way of saying thank you is to send you a copy of Grace Based Discipline as our way of saying thank you. You have to donate and get your copy of Keris's book. Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family, 800-232-6459.

Or visit the link in the show notes. Keris, as we end, I'm mindful of that parent that feels they just haven't done it well. Maybe they have kids that are 15, 16, 17, and they've been very rules oriented. What is something they can do to be more hopeful?

What's an action? I know that's a very difficult question. If they're in that desperate spot, you've counseled with parents that are there.

What would you say to them? Well, that's what is amazing about Grace, right? It can just cover over our mistakes. It's purpose is to cover a multitude of mistakes. And so if you realize that you've been legalistic and rules oriented and you feel like that's damaged your relationship with your kids, the first thing you do is just pray.

Ask the Lord to point out these areas in your life. Ask to receive His grace for the ways that you have messed up and His forgiveness and accept forgiveness for yourself. We are so reluctant to accept God's forgiveness for ourselves and to forgive ourselves. We just continue to hang on to it and to beat ourselves over the head with our mistakes. And you know, the enemy wins when we do that.

He just wins. And so accept that forgiveness. Let that grace transform you. And then go, I mean, if you feel like your kids are old enough and you can talk specifically about this kind of stuff with them, and I would encourage you to go to your children and say, hey, I just, I kind of have had this awakening about grace and I realize that I have made mistakes with you. I'm not perfect. And I mean, name some specific things if you can and ask them to forgive you. Ask your kids to forgive you. It could be the best thing you've ever done. It could be the turning point in your relationship and the difference between you having a great deep relationship with your kids down the road or it just being strained.

It really can. Karis, thanks for being with us. Thanks. And next time you'll learn how to find purpose in the midst of everyday life. And boy, you look at your life story and you have such a hard time thinking, well, there isn't any more to my life story.

That flashpoint just can sometimes on the negative side can just freeze you. So that's what we're trying to get people to do is look at the strengths and the struggles. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. If the fights with your spouse have become unbearable, if you feel like you can't take it anymore, there's still hope. Hope Restored marriage intensives have helped thousands of couples like yours. Our biblically based counseling will help you find the root of your problems and face them together. Call us at 1-866-875-2915. We'll talk with you, pray with you and help you find out which program will work best. That's 1-866-875-2915.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-02 05:16:41 / 2023-10-02 05:29:16 / 13

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