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RULES ARE TO BE OBEYED!--A Talk on Disciplining Children!       Sept. 1983       DO 1707
--By Maria #3

       [EDITED: "HomeARC note (9/98): The Charter is the source of current Family policy and rules regarding the discipline of minors."]

       1. NOWADAYS IN OUR HOMES WE OFTEN HAVE A NUMBER OF FAMILIES LIVING TOGETHER WITH A LARGE NUMBER OF CHILDREN. We've found that there is sometimes a problem due to the fact that some of the parents within the Home choose to discipline their children more strictly, or for certain offences, while other parents in the Home are more lenient on their own children for the same offence. Therefore the Home lacks a real unified standard of rules & regulations which the children are expected to obey.--Some children get disciplined for certain things that the other children don't. This can certainly confuse the children as well as lead to disunity & contention between the adults. When there are a large number of children from different families, or even all from the same family, they're all quite hard to supervise without some kind of united disciplinary standard.
       2. THE ANSWER HAS TO BE REAL STRICT DISCIPLINE FROM THE VERY BEGINNING FOR EVERYONE--adults & children alike! It's important that all the parents & children know & agree upon all the rules the children are expected to obey, so that anyone can discipline any of the children & not just the particular mother or father of the offending child! It's important when a child is disobedient that the judgement & punishment is swift. It just can't be that the person who catches the child at some disobedience has to carry them off to the mother who perhaps is busy at the time & can't discipline them until some time later. This is not going to bring about the needed effect! Carry out the punishment then & there.
       3. IT SHOULD WORK THAT EVERYBODY IN THE HOME CAN DISCIPLINE THE CHILDREN IF AGREED UPON, & it can be so if all the adults know & agree upon the different measures of punishment for certain disobediences & that everyone knows what those disobediences are, including the children! If everyone knows the rules, agrees & abides by them, then everyone can discipline the children, not just the parents! The parents must trust their childcare helpers to do what's best & agree upon the rules together.
       4. LIKE DAD SAID IN "TEEN TERRORS" (No.1512), if you want the benefit of having nurses & childcare helpers, then you've got to give them the responsibility to do what they know they have to do with your children. Little ones aren't always disciplined exactly the same as the big ones, but nevertheless, the point is to have certain standards & everybody agree on the standards no matter what they are for what ages.
       5. ACTUALLY, IN THE LONG RUN, IT TAKES A LOT LESS TIME TO DISCIPLINE THE CHILDREN RIGHT, THAN IT DOES TO LET THEM RUN WILD, because if you have five, six or up to ten children in the house running around loose, it's going to take all of the parents' or keepers' time just to keep the kids corralled. But, if you have strong discipline & reasonable limitations for the children to abide by, it would be much easier & would take less time on everybody's part.
       6. THE IMPORTANT THING TO DO IS TO HAVE ALL OF THE ADULTS GET TOGETHER & SET DOWN THE RULES THAT EVERYBODY FOLLOWS--like children aren't allowed to scream unless they're really hurt or in danger, & they aren't allowed to hit each other, they should never go out in the yard or pool by themselves, they should always wear shoes when going outside, etc. Whatever the rules are, everybody should get together & discuss them & agree, which means, of course, those who are generally too lenient may have to compromise a bit & become more firm, & those who are perhaps overstrict may have to let up a little bit. Whatever the case, you have to come to a happy medium that everybody is going to agree upon & that everybody is going to follow & that you all decide & agree upon together!
       7. IT'S ALSO BEST, IF POSSIBLE, THAT THE OLDER CHILDREN AT LEAST ATTEND THE MEETING & AGREE to the rules or have their own meeting, & even make up some of their own rules, if possible. Not only the adults should agree to the rules, but you should give the kids some say-so too. Let them make their own rules within reason & decide what punishment they think they deserve if they disobey. But remember, kids are normally harder on themselves than you would be. Give the children a chance to speak up too, let them learn to help make decisions.
       8. THINGS HAVE TO BE RUN LIKE AN ARMY because you just can't always treat each child individually in a large Home with a lot of children. In a big Home there are lots of kids, & the more people you have, the more regimented & organized things have to be. You've got to pray, & decide & agree on what to do for disciplinary action ahead of time, & if the kids are old enough, let them make some of the decisions!
       9. "NOW, YOU KIDS HAVE HAD A PROBLEM WITH FIGHTING, & STRIKING EACH OTHER IS VERY BAD! We don't allow it because it's not loving. What do you suggest would help us learn not to hurt one another?" If the children have helped to make the rules, then they're more aware of them, & will be more inclined to obey them & more able to accept the consequences that they themselves have laid down. How much the children understand all this depends on how old they are & how mature they are.
       10. ONCE EVERYBODY KNOWS THE RULES & EVERYBODY KNOWS THE PUNISHMENTS FOR BREAKING THE RULES, then if a child breaks a rule he [DELETED] should have whatever punishment was decided upon unitedly by the body! If they're going to get away with things then they're going to lose confidence in the adults that let them get away with disobedience!
       11. PERHAPS IN SOME HOMES THE CHILDREN HAVEN'T HAD ENOUGH WORD OVER THE YEARS & they lack spiritual depth, so it's harder to convict them for their sins & mistakes by using the Word, which would be the best & is the most ideal method. However, if bad behaviour has persisted & the children are rowdy & unruly, you can't wait until you've invested years of grounding them in the Word before you begin to discipline them! The thing you need then is firm definite discipline in order to keep order within the house! Even many Worldly homes have some sort of order & peace in their house so the home is not in complete chaos!
       12. THE WORD, OF COURSE, HELPS MOTIVATE THE CHILDREN TO DO THE RIGHT THING, & THAT ALONG WITH [EDITED: "DISCIPLINE"], IS DEFINITELY THE LONG-TERM SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM. But the immediate solution is strong discipline for unruly children. So it's definitely worthwhile to have a meeting with the kids & decide with them what the house rules are going to be. Maybe you should just sit'm down & tell'm that you're all going to try to turn over a new leaf & there's not going to be any more running & screaming & naughty, rowdy behaviour in the house, etc. You adults can discuss it with them & tell them that you have had to put down some rules for safety & guidelines in the Home, & that everybody must know these rules. You can review them again with the kids & then you can carry it out! If everyone is in on it & they know it's a united family affair, then it shouldn't be a problem.
       13. EVERYBODY WILL KNOW WHAT'S EXPECTED OF THEM--THE CHILDREN WILL KNOW WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THEM, THE ADULTS WILL KNOW WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THE CHILDREN & the adults will be able to discipline accordingly. Of course, it will take a rewiring & a renewing of the parents, but they're just going to have to accept that other people in the house should [EDITED: "discipline"] their children if necessary, knowing that they'll be getting [EDITED: "disciplined"] for the things that you agreed to have them [disciplined for!
       14. OUR FAMILY CHILDREN BELONG TO ALL OF US & WE'RE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM. Problem children will, of course, affect the good ones & that makes an added incentive of discipline for everybody! "Let's get your kids straightened out because it's going to affect my kids if I don't help your kids get straightened out, ha!"
       15. ONE OF THE MAJOR PROBLEMS IS TO GET EVERYBODY TO AGREE. But with lots of prayer & the Letters as your guideline, every Home should be able to come to an agreement! The easiest & simplest solution is if everyone will get together & agree on the rules, lay down the law, agree to everything together & then enforce it! You have to lay down the law to get the kids disciplined & in order, & then of course, you have to continually administer the Word to motivate them to do the right thing & to help them to get convicted by the Spirit when they're disobedient. The immediate solution is to discipline them now, & once you've got these problem cases in obedience & in order it will be a lot easier to teach them the Word & to get along well with others in peace & quiet.
       16. SOMEONE BROUGHT OUT, "WELL, WHAT HAPPENS IF WE GO TO ANOTHER HOME & THEIR STANDARD IS DIFFERENT?" I don't see how you can really help a standard being different from Home-to-Home. If you're just going to visit the Home, well, that's their Home & that's their business & their standard may differ somewhat from yours. We shouldn't really have different standards too much. It would be preferable if everybody could have pretty much the same standards in the Family, following the Letters, but we haven't been able to cover every detail & rule of discipline in the MO Letters & Children's Life Stories. Therefore every Home will have to strive to obey the Family Standard as prayerfully & as best as they know how!
       17. THE LONG-TERM GOAL IS TO ENCOURAGE THE CHILDREN TO OBEY OUT OF LOVE & THAT THEY KNOW WHAT'S RIGHT & WHAT'S WRONG & THEREFORE CHOOSE TO DO THE RIGHT THING, but as we said before, if they don't, & if you have a problem, you have to have a solution, by enforcing strong discipline which is bound to bear good fruit! It might not be the best way, because the best way would have been to start teaching them the Word right from the beginning & to have disciplined right from the start, but nevertheless, you can start now to enforce the rules!
       18. ENFORCING A REASONABLE STANDARD OF DISCIPLINE FOR YOUR KIDS & REALLY KEEPING THEM IN LINE WILL HELP THEM TO GROW UP OBEYING NOT ONLY YOU BUT THE LORD. Even if you enforce these laws & rules just because you need some plain ol' peace & quiet in the house & you have no other motive, a standard of disciplinary rules will bring about good results! Even if your motive isn't the best, the results will certainly be good!
       19. IDEALLY WE'RE TO TRY & EXPLAIN THINGS TO CHILDREN & HELP THEM TO UNDERSTAND WHY THEY DID WRONG & TAKE THE TIME TO REASON WITH THEM, but if you've got a major problem on your hands & lots of screaming kids & they're already unruly, rowdy & undisciplined, then it's not time to explain.--It's time for laying down the law! Once you've got them in order & in line & more obedient, then you can start investing more time to train them more thoroughly the way they need to be trained. Regardless of what you do & how you do it, it's an absolute necessity, especially in a large Home, to have some sort of united disciplinary measures in order to have some order in the Home, & later in their lives they'll be glad you did!
       20. THEY MAY NOT LIKE IT NOW, BUT IN TIME THE CHILDREN WILL LEARN TO LOVE & RESPECT YOU FOR IT! Even if they don't like it & even if they think it is unjust, it's still better to give them rules for good disciplined behaviour even if it means their resenting it for a time, because there needs to be some order & you need to have some peace in the house, & with 10 undisciplined rowdy kids running around you're not going to have it!
       21. THE MAIN KEY IS TO GET EVERYONE IN THE HOME TOGETHER ON IT, MAKE THE RULES TOGETHER & AGREE TOGETHER, because it's very hard to live together & have your children grow up in harmony if everyone doesn't train & discipline the children in the same way. You should be able to get together, agree to some guidelines according to the Letters & be consistent! You can't just have some rules that you're going to keep this month & then next month forget about! The rules are meant for all the kids, no matter how young or how old. So get together, decide what behaviour & house rules need to be made, agree upon them & then enforce them. Remember that children will really get confused if they see other children in the Home not getting punished & corrected for something that they get punished & corrected for! It just confuses them if there are different standards for different children, & that can, of course, cause contention & disunity & disharmony!
       22. ANOTHER MAJOR PROBLEM IS THAT TOO MANY PARENTS SEEM TO CONSIDER THEIR CHILDREN "EXCEPTIONS" & "SPECIAL CASES," but there are certain Home rules which have to be obeyed by everyone, whether there are exceptional cases or not. There's just no exception for screaming, &/or striking your brothers or sisters, direct disobedience or defiance, or any other such offences. Some children may be slower in their education or understanding or special talents, & these are things that you should try to bring out in a child & help him with. There are exceptions in some children intellectually or emotionally but as far as discipline goes, all the children in the Family from the youngest to the oldest need certain rules laid out that they all just have to obey & these rules should be agreed upon by everyone concerned. You're working towards the end result of training children to be obedient & loving, so however you treat them & however severe the discipline has to be, if it gets the end result, that's what you're aiming at!
       23. WHAT YOU'RE AIMING FOR IS THAT THE CHILDREN HAVE GOOD BEHAVIOUR & OBEY THE RULES! There should be good general rules in the house so the kids learn to live like civilised human beings, with a little bit of kindness & courtesy! It should be the same for everybody! You may have to make a few exceptions, as some people are a lot more sensitive than others or slow learners, or children may have been emotionally hurt for example, maybe their parents are gone for awhile & they're adjusting to new helpers, or maybe they have a problem of stammering or something & need special understanding. In other words, some cases can't take as severe punishment, etc. Perhaps the punishment is not as severe for more sensitive children as it is for a more rebellious child; nevertheless the rules should be the same for all & be obeyed, even if the punishments may vary for different age groups or exceptional, individual cases. All this should be agreed upon by the adults in your regular childcare prayer meetings. By the way, the Homes that have regular childcare council meetings seem to be the ones with the least problem children!
       24. IN A LARGE CO-OP HOME YOU ALMOST HAVE TO MAKE THE SACRIFICE OF TREATING THE CHILDREN PRETTY MUCH THE SAME, because otherwise it's going to be very confusing & you won't exactly know what to do. I hate to regiment it. Sometimes you don't want to punish or deal with each child exactly the same, but it's a bit of a sacrifice you may have to make if you're going to live in a large Home with lots of children & if everybody is going to have to discipline them.
       25. THE SAME BASIC RULES OF HOW TO LIVE IN HAPPINESS & HARMONY TOGETHER STILL APPLY, THE GOALS ARE STILL THE SAME. Everybody should be required to keep the rules one way or the other--if you have to spank some children & you don't have to spank other more sensitive & easily convicted ones to get them to obey. You may have different means, but you're supposed to be working for the same end result.
       26. IN THE CASE WHERE SOME PARENTS' STANDARDS FOR [EDITED: "DISCIPLINE"] DIFFER FROM OTHER PARENTS IN THE HOME, THEY'LL HAVE TO DECIDE TOGETHER WHAT ARE THE CRIMES & WHAT AREN'T THE CRIMES. Everybody will have to be treated pretty much the same. That's what you have to do in a big group. That's why school teachers can handle 35 kids at a time, but if you have a special small class of only 5 children, then you can give them more individual attention, especially if the helpers really know the children well & what each individual one needs. In our Homes with everything everybody has to do, you pretty much just have to make a standard set of rules & everybody has to grow up with those rules. We should actually have the same rules for the children whether they're a few years old or 12-years-old, they still can't slap or scream or fight or be naughty, careless, disobedient or destructive! The basic rules of living together begin when they're young & they have to learn them, they just have to learn to abide by those rules whether they're very young or even older.
       27. PARENTS WHO LACK A STANDARD OF DISCIPLINE ARE MAKING IT DIFFICULT ON THEMSELVES! Having this bedlam & confusion & inconsistency is certainly doing the kids a lot more damage than good, without disciplinary standards to follow. We've got hundreds of rules in our Family, checklists & discipleship rules, etc. There's nothing wrong with regimenting & having rules like that. Dad says we all need rules! Even we as adults aren't mature enough to be always only ruled by vague ideas of love.
       28. EVEN SOME WORLDLY PEOPLE BELIEVE IN DISCIPLINE so there's no excuse for us not doing it. You don't even have to be spiritually strong to make your kids obey.
       29. IF CHILDREN ARE BROUGHT UP PROPERLY FROM THE BEGINNING THEN THEY'LL WANT TO OBEY. But if you have 9 undisciplined kids you're just gonna have to set the rules & say "Do it or else"! That's what some Units had to do when all those prodigal families got together after having been on their own for so long. Children should just never be allowed to be bad--no hitting, no screaming, no throwing, no fits, only certain times for TV, etc., those are some general rules, & everyone must obey those main rules.
       30. PUT DOWN SPECIFIC GUIDELINES & IT MAKES THINGS SO MUCH EASIER! The kids can't do it alone, so make it easy for them to be good! Lay down rules! If it doesn't work, then get together & change your method! "Okay kids, we need to change a few rules now because it wasn't working the old way." I don't see any other way of doing it! After all, public schools have to run that way. They can't make a lot of exceptions. Some may need special attention, there's nothing wrong with that, but we can't make exceptions for disobedience! You can use extra prodding as an inducement to obey, or persuasion, but however they're treated, they all need to obey. The children just can't be naughty, screaming & slapping & throwing things!
       31. IF THEY BREAK THE LAW THEY MUST BE CORRECTED FOR IT! They may have specialised attention in other areas perhaps, but rules are to be obeyed! There's no reason why we can't have good behaviour in our Homes! Amen? PTL! GBAKY disciplining!

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family


Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family