Fun within Boundaries
By Drenda Keesee
Expectations and consequences are a way of life, especially when it comes to raising children. First, lay out what is expected of your child. Have clear rules in place, and if you don’t already have those rules, you can establish them by giving warnings. When your child is pitching a tantrum, if you haven’t already drawn a line there, you need to establish your expectations.
Here is an example of how you might effectively communicate your expectation (training) and consequence (discipline)…
“We do not throw tantrums to get our way. I am in authority, and you need to obey my decision without a bad attitude. If you can’t do that, I will discipline you, because I love you too much to let you act like that. God wants us to have quick and cheerful obedience.” There’s a clear expectation established, and a clear consequence if they don’t meet that expectation.
Now, because you’ve established that expectation, your child knows the consequence the next time they disobey. Of course, you have to follow through with that. Keep your word.
Remind them of the expectation and consequence, and follow through when they disobey. It doesn’t take many times before your children understand the expectation, and you won’t have to constantly discipline. They will start to self-correct. We rarely had to discipline our kids. They reached the age where they were testing our will, and once they saw that we were serious about our warnings, they were fine. And that respect for authority carried into their older years. We had to discipline them some as they grew into new stages and wanted to make sure the authority was still the rule, but it was rare.
The expectations you set for a three-year-old versus a ten-year-old are different. A three-year-old has an attention span of three minutes, so you have different expectations of them. The principles are the same, but the standard you would hold them to is less strict than for your ten-year-old. You wouldn’t expect your three-year-old to take out the trash every day, but you could expect that of your ten-year-old. At the same time, you would expect your three-year-old to clean up their toys with your guidance.
The children’s ministry for our church is a great example of these different levels of expectations. We have the same rules for the three-year-olds as we have for ten-year-olds, but they have different standards. In the three-year-old class, we aren’t going to sit children down and make them listen to a teacher talk for forty-five minutes. We want to give them the same message and teach them the same principles as a normal church service, but we’re going to do that on a platform that they understand. Instead of forty-five minutes, we’re going to do it in five.
We still expect them to listen to their teachers and obey, but we aren’t going to set them up for failure, because we know that their attention spans are only a few minutes. So after they are taught their lesson, they get to go play and have a snack.
If we deliver the same principles to the kids, but we give it to them on their level, they can receive that. For the six- to ten-year-olds, we will deliver those principles on a different level. We will also hold them to a different standard. Instead of sitting five minutes for a lesson, we will do thirty minutes of teaching, videos, and skits to help them get the principles on their level.
The principles are always the same, but you may communicate that more simply for younger ages and your standards should reflect the age of the child. You don’t have a long discussion about their mistake when a child is young. You need to make your message clear.
You need to get four things across when you discipline your child: your expectation, the consequence, God’s love, and your love.
ps…Are you looking for a good church? Be sure and listen on Saturday evening or catch the 3 services on Sunday for Faith Life Church!
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional, and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesee’s have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then the irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.