Wednesday, July 02, 2008


The theme around here has been destruction. I don't mean that in a good way. We are at our wit's end to know what to do. I'm reading parenting books, taking away things, redirecting and trying desperately to explain and remind and train. The past two weeks we've had books torn, papers ripped, walls written on, couches written on, and toys colored on. The rules have clearly been in place for a long time, reminders have been given of proper and improper use, and writing utensils put up (only to be used with supervision) but somehow crayons, chalk, and whatever else is being scrounged up from I don't know where. We've had conversations about honoring God and taking care of the things He has given us, tried to get to the heart of the matter (and of the offending child), and we've used a variety of discipline techniques but with seemingly no success. It's been a frustrating process with no end in sight. It's difficult for me to get anything done because I cannot let my children out of my sight for even 2 minutes without disastrous results.

Please someone tell me this is a phase. My days feel forever long as I try to protect and correct. I feel we must be missing some key but perhaps the key is consistency as we (and the rules) are being tested. It's making me crazy! It's not just an obedience issue but a care and stewardship issue. Both children (though there is a main offender) KNOW it's wrong I have no doubt of that - it's evidenced in their response (verbal and nonverbal) and the hiding when sin has been committed. Any advice for this battle-weary mom? :)


Heather L. said...

Maybe the kids are just really feeling cooped up and frustrated by their colds, etc. They aren't really old enough to let their feelings out in explanations and conversations so maybe this is their way of saying, "I'm sick of being sick, let me out of this house......, etc." :) anyway, i hope for your sake it passes quickly and they forget about beging destructive.

I was informed that my baby colored his wall today with a highlighter while I was shopping. Nice job David! That was after coloring his lips with the orange highlighter this morning. Maybe it's something in the water....

CityStreams said...

Yikes! I found a lot of comfort from Mom's of older kids. Apparently, they do eventually grow out of these phases. Read this post over at Days to Come. It will give you some hope at least!

Jenna said...

Not having children take my advice with a grain of salt... but I think it's a phase. Learning that you can make a permanent mark on something, both literally and figuratively, is an important lesson... even if it means writing the word "PIE" in big letters with a black crayon on the wallpaper your mother just hung... not that that happened in our house growing up!

My only suggestion would be to have a designated "writing" time during the day... a time when the boys can write/draw on as much paper with as many different things as they want. You might go through reams of paper, but it might get it out of their systems... and that's surely cheaper than replacing sofas!

Anonymous said...

have you tried spanking?

Jenny said...

You said you think you're missing the key to it somewhere... perhaps the boys destroyed it.
Just kidding.
It probably has a LOT to do with being cooped up and not being able to expend enough energy, so they're taking it out on you and stuff.
Sometimes it seems almost impossible to find the "currency" that will make them stop the inappropriate behavior -- I'm in that myself right now.
But I suspect it's a phase that they'll get through.
(Right now, Mark is singing "God our father, God our Father, We give thanks..." That sort of thing shows me that there's a light at the end of the tunnel!)

Meg said...

Just so you know, it is not just boys who do this. Jolene went through a time where she ripped up books left and right. Thankfully that has died down, perhaps growing out of it?

The writing on the walls has not stopped :-( Right now I am assuming it is Jolene doing the writing when it could very well be Adele :-)

With the writing on the walls... I make Jolene scrub it for a while. Sometimes I know it won't come off but I still make her do it so she knows how much work it is for me when she makes the mess...and then she gets a spank.

There is one in their bedroom right now, it has been there for many months. I actually like the drawing and so I haven't cleaned it off. Is that sending a mixed message? :-)

I try to have "drawing time" every other day or so. I am hoping that it gets their creative jitters out on paper instead of on the couch or walls.

I have to be careful about laying my pens around the house. I feel like it is an open invitation to them to draw on whatever. Not that it makes it right but it does open up the temptation.

Well, I guess I wrote a bit of a book there :-)

Take heart, you are not alone!

Anonymous said...

I agree with annonymous... have you tried spanking? If you say 'no coloring on the walls' but they get away with it everytime... not only are they learning it's really okay to color on the walls, but also that when you say 'no' you don't really mean it.

They are going through a phase... a phase where spanking and clear cut boundaries with physical consequences mean more than reminders or lessons about what God would have them do.

Good luck!

Alaina said...

To the Anonymous commenters: I had hoped to avoid having to respond but with a second comment and at my husband's counsel, I will only make these statements. Rest assured we DO NOT just say no. There are clear boundaries and clear consequences. We firmly believe that it is our responsibility to also train their hearts and so with those consequences will come reminders and lessons about what God desires no matter what the age. Discipline without correction will not be effective in the long run. We also work to have positive interactions about what is expected when it is not a discipline situation. We do not just say no and let them get away with it and that is the frustrating thing about the repeated offense.

I have kept the anonymous commenting feature for my grandparents and family members who read but don't blog so they can comment. If the misuses of this feature continue than I will no longer allow anonymous comments - if you would like to reach me privately my e-mail can be found on my profile. Thanks!

Thanks to all the rest of you for the encouragment and constructive suggestions! We are persevering and have had 2 successful days!