How can I discipline my 4-year-old through 10-year-old child with grace?
Preschoolers can be fairly straight-forward and teens are emotionally complicated, but the middle kids - those 4-year-olds to 10-year-olds - can be just flat-out wearing. Often I'm thinking, "Hello??? I've told you this 3,667 times." And I shake my head in disbelief or I get super frustrated and resort to yelling.
Back in 2011 I posted about The Ticket System, which we had begun to use with our middle kids. The idea didn't originate with us; it's from parenting author Dr. John Rosemond, who has a whole lot of common sense.
It's truly one of the best tools we've ever used because it just opens those middle kiddos' eyes. I think a lot of the problems with the middle kids is that they forget or are truly oblivious to their sometimes obnoxious behavior, and they simply need to be pulled out of the game, so to speak. Just this afternoon our 9-year-old was whining about something, which is more her habit than a conscious decision, and when I mentioned the ticket, she snapped out of it.
The Ticket System is gracious. It assumes the best of a child, not the worst. It gives them the benefit of the doubt, allowing them to recognize when they are sinning and then correct it, in grace, with mercy. It assumes that they are not desiring to be the way they are; they are battling their sin and humanity just as I am.
It isn't the only way to discipline with grace, but it's been an excellent tool in our home. Gracious mommy, life-giving grace-filled kids.