Isaac is now trying to repeat almost everything we say, so naturally it is time to remove the explicit language from our vocabulary.
You know, 'c%&p,' 's#%ks,' 'st%#id,' and worst of all, 'f#t.'
All the things you don't want your toddler going up and saying to a complete stranger. It may be fine for adults in some instances, but its less than cute in a 2 year old.
So as we've tried to oust the bad, I've worked on replacing it with something good.
One of my goals lately has been using Scripture to correct and discipline Isaac. It's been great and so far has been working out well for both of us. I'm calmer when I administer the punishment, so he's more responsive and I leave feeling okay with how it all goes down.
My biggest concern with using Scripture to aid in his punishments though is that he'll become bitter toward God and His Word because he sees Him as the reason he's always getting in trouble. So, now I'm working on phase 2 of this process: Encouragement. Even as adults, we love to be praised and often love the people from whom the praise is coming. What a great way to help him fall in love with his God!
The Bible can just as easily be used as a means of encouragement as it can for correction. A lot of times the same verses can be used both ways. So, I've been looking for opportunities to encourage Isaac lately. Just last week, he provided a perfect opportunity.
He's been into puzzles lately. For a few days last week, he wanted to do them for a while right after he woke up from his nap. Though I enjoy helping him and watching him try to put the pieces in, it's often a short-lived activity that quickly turns into a meltdown. He usually lasts anywhere from 30 sec-5 min before he gets super frustrated that a piece is not cooperating and he can't get it in. He squeals with annoyance and throws the piece or knocks all of the pieces that he's already done out.
On this particular occasion, he did every puzzle he had (about 5 or 6) without incident. He worked patiently and diligently until he'd done them all.
The opportunity almost passed me by.
I was sitting there thinking, "Wow! I can't believe he hasn't flipped out yet! He's being so patient. Good. Maybe he'll be in a good mood this afternoon." (Sigh of relief and contentment). And then it hit me, or probably more likely, the Holy Spirit did.
Oooh! Oooh! Here's my chance!
So I said, "Isaac, you are doing such a good job of being patient with your puzzles! Did you know you honor God when you're patient? That's one of the fruits of the Spirit! Good job! Mommy is so pleased when you show patience!"
And he beamed.
I'm sure he didn't understand it all, but he got the idea that the way he was playing was a good way to play and the right way to play.
Since then, I've been looking for opportunities to compliment him when he's displaying a behavior or attitude that is pleasing to the Lord. He loves my praise, and when it's Scripturally based, I love giving it! I've been able to find instances where he's displayed many of the fruits of the Spirit and have used more general verses like Ephesians 6:1 to thank him for being obedient to me.
Once again, it's been a huge blessing to me as I parent and gives me more peace when I have to correct a behavior as well. Replacing the explicits in our home has been one of the most enjoyable parenting processes yet!