Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stroke of Brilliancy

This darling boy has pretty much broken the mold for us. Anything that worked with his older brother did NOT work for him. They're as opposite as can be. That was pretty apparent from the time he was born. And really, this problem is typical in most families I think. At first, we thought it very difficult that he was so different. But now, we're starting to see that his eccentricities are a very good thing because they teach us a lot about changing our methods. In essence, he forces us out of our ruts into the uncharted territories of parenting unknown.

Here's an example. We're not really chart people. You know, the rewards charts. We have some really good friends that use them a lot with great success but, I don't know, we just haven't ever tried them. Maybe it's because we're lazy. Or maybe it's because we just feel like our kids should do what we say because, well we said to not because we did a big song and dance about it. I don't know. Maybe it's some of both. But for whatever reason, we haven't used this technique.

Until recently. We've had a long term problem with Caleb that has needed some fixing. It's not an obedience issue but rather an issue of childish foolishness. We have reminded, we have held him accountable, we have tried every, single angle possible to get this certain behavior to diminish. But it has stuck around like a bee to honey and no amount of anything was helping. He simply wasn't motivated enough to remember. So out of frustration and utter defeat, we threw up our hands and decided to make a chart. He'd get a sticker every time he remembered and if he didn't, he simply didn't get one. Once he filled up his chart, he'd get a prize (very small from the dollar store).

And we waited. All of the sudden, he was remembering. Having something positive put in front of him kept him going. And our jaws were permanently affixed to the floor. We had spent months combating this problem, and in a matter of days, with a different focus on the whole deal, he was doing much better. Whhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttt?!

That pretty much sums up our reaction. Soon after starting him on his chart, we potty trained Joshua and started a chart for him every time he went #2. The treat at the end wasn't really enough motivation for him to go so I thought, "What the heck!? Let's try it!" Worked like a champ. We haven't had an accident in that area for awhile now. Then of course, the oldest needed in on the action and he needed his own chart. I had to wrack my brain to come up with something for him to keep track of but, within a short amount of time, we decided his chart would be related to his chores. Once we're done with the other boys and their "issues" we'll transition them to the chore chart as well.

All in all, we're better people and we're better parents because of his fiery personality. We've simply been amazed at how often, Caleb the stubborn one, pulls us out of our own stubbornness causing us to try another way. It's like God put him in our family to help us see the whole grand picture rather than the measly frame. Some things are totally non-negotiable but in some areas, seeing things from a different angle can be beneficial. There is definitely black and white in parenting. But a lot of it is shades of gray. We just have to learn to discern when to stay in the lines and when to bust out the creativity.

It's all art. It's all learning. But in the end, it's a masterpiece that only the Creator Himself could have designed.

And he uses all the little people in our lives to help create it stroke by stroke by stroke.



  1. Awesome Nikki! Glad that you were able to try something new that worked! Isn't parenting so challenging but so fun!

  2. Definitely brilliant. So many great points here.