So I've not posted in many days......It's been an emotionally exhausting few weeks for me as a mom...... but Praise the Lord, after much prayer, time, energy, and yes, even tears-- I can see positive progress happening in the life, heart, and discipline of Joshua Nahome! Many of my bloggy adoption friends have written or called to ask recently about the ways that we have chosen to d*scipline our older adopted child so I thought that maybe I should share a post about what I've learned so far about disciplining Joshua Nahome along this journey.....
Initially, there was lots of LOVE, GRACE and MERCY given to this little one that was transitioning to a new home, a new family, a new language, a new culture, etc. all at once! We tried to be ever so patient, explaining, loving, modeling correct behaviors and activities. We gave him lots of learning time without placing high expectations. We sort of pretended in our minds that we were dealing with a one year old so we used very soft methods of re-directing! So there really wasn't lots of "d*scipline" for a long little while but after we were sure that we had established trust, understanding, language comprehension, and familiarity for Joshua Nahome to our family and our family rules..... I can honestly say that we have both successfully and unsuccessfully tried MANY different techniques to begin disciplining Joshua Nahome as OUR child!
We had initially read so many adoption books that really scared us silly and most all of them said, in one way or another.... "DO NOT SPANK AN ADOPTED CHILD". I truly tried every "alternative" method possible, and honestly, most were ineffective. Let me share what the BIBLE says about parenting children.....Hebrews 12:5-8: "And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as children? It says, "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate children at all."
Proverbs 29:17 "Correct thy son and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."
Proverbs 13:24 "He that spares the rod, hates his son, but he that loves him is careful to discipline him."
I began to recognize that Joshua Nahome's disobedience, rebellion and defiance began to grow and worsen in my (unsuccessful :0) attempt to train him using various culturally popular and lenient methods such as time outs, loss of privileges,etc. His disobedience was becoming very problematic, even dangerous! One day a few weeks ago, he climbed in my car while we were loading up to leave and he quickly jumped into the drivers seat and began to push and pull buttons and levers. He was told "No! GET OUT of that seat!" but he ignored the words, smiled and laughed and somehow put the car into neutral and the car rolled out of my driveway and into the middle of our street. Thank goodness no one was hurt....it could have been devastating. The moving car could have easily killed one of my other children or caused a car accident and killed him! I get chill bumps even thinking about what a close call it was!! I am so thankful for this situation though because it was in this moment that I realized that we were not going to follow the adoption book's advice about discipline any more.......it wasn't working and it was just plain dangerous to allow him to be disobedient all because he was adopted! Just like Proverbs says.....we love him too much to not discipline him! We have decided to show Joshua Nahome that we love him and accept him as our child by setting firm limits and using Biblical methods of consistent discipline for him when he chooses to disobey. Folks, IT IS WORKING-- his heart is already changing! I sp*nk him if he doesn't obey immediately, all the way, with a happy heart. This is exactly how I discipline and teach our other children, then I sit and hold him in my lap after I sp*nk and I love on him, explaining WHY he was disciplined and then we go over the correct response together. Before he gets out of my arms, he is always smiling and I can honestly say that he has been a more secure, more obedient and more pleasing child to be with this week! :) It has been a very hard and exhausting few weeks for me to focus on consistency in disciplining Joshua and ALL of our children, but I am so thankful for the blessings that come with having a peaceful home, obedient children and to enjoy the fruits of my labor every day as I spend time with my treasures!!
OK....so here's my Disclaimer.....I am sure that many of you out there probably disagree with our parenting style. We do sp*nk our children and we are thankful we live in the state of Texas where sp*nkings are legal......We believe that God and His Word, The Bible, is the ultimate authority on love, discipline, and parenting EVERY child in our home (NOT the popular parenting/adoption books and magazines!). I understand that adopted children come from various, usually unstable and unhealthy family backgrounds and they may be emotionally fragile. We do NOT abuse our children and I am NOT advocating or recommending any type of child abuse or violence. We believe in deliberate, planned, un-emotional, CONSISTENT and loving discipline, even for the adopted child in our family! Praise the Lord.... I really have seen some amazing progress this week and Joshua Nahome is healthy, happy and doing great! God is good!
I hope this helps clarify our position of disciplining an older adopted child with some transparency. I pray that my struggle to "figure it out" allows you to also see that while we are blessed by adding Joshua to our family, adoption is challenging but the rewards are absolutely, eternally amazing! :)