Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
I'm helping out with the kids this summer at our midweek church service. That night has always been a disaster, partially because it's been understaffed, and partially because of the inertia in the fact that it's always sort of been a free for all. My friend who is leading now has done a great job of giving them some structure, but also let them have some fun. It's a smaller group and the problem (with teaching) is that it's ages 3 up to 11 or so.
So, during the course of the Bible story video they were watching, I moved a couple of children around who were talking or otherwise distracted after initial warnings didn't deter them. After the video when the teacher was trying to discuss it, I made eye contact with Amanda and let her know that she'd be moved if she didn't stop. Not only did she talk again, but she then got up and walked around and picked something up right behind the teacher and was playing with it. So, I told her to move to a chair away from anyone else.
"No, I'm sitting by E."
"Amanda, go sit over there. You got a warning."
"No," sitting down beside E.
I moved out into the hall. "Come out here with me."
After a little more refusal, she finally came out. We discussed her behavior. She stayed out there a bit, then rejoined the group.
So, on the way home from church, we filled Daddy in. She sobbed and sobbed. I asked why she was feeling so badly. She said, "I feel worse right now than I did earlier. You make me feel like I did something really bad--worse than what I did."
So, apparently my parenting skills have been so lax of late, that saying no to your mom is not deemed as something "really bad." So, I am accepting responsibility. And I feel okay about the whole situation. Because I did stand firm then, and we discussed it on the way home, she now knows that it is absolutely not acceptable, and we have set the bar. We've told her that she will be penalized or punished each time she tells us no or refuses to do what we've asked her in reasonably short order.
As the iron that complements her iron, I have let her get dull. Her conscience is dulled to the fact that "just disagreeing" is disrespectful. I need to keep her sharp. I have always noticed when she slips off the deep end in this area, it's because I've let things go. So, I'm gonna take a knife to her. (Figuratively speaking of course).
I would also like you wise readers to take a knife to me. I do know that talking back and disrespect is best banished when it is dealt with consistently and swiftly. How do you deal with it in your own homes? How did your parents respond to it? How does a mom you know with respectful kids handle it?
Come on, sharpen away. My daughter and I need it.