I grounded a child for the first time today.
I'm not sure who is more traumatized, me or her.
I have committed to her to not air her struggles, either in person or on the internet, but I can say it has a lot to do with her continual disregard for authority (namely, me) and a lack of self-control (she self diagnosed that issue).
Once she resigned herself to her discipline, she wanted to talk. An hour later she thanked me for grounding her. If you had been in the kitchen with us 60 minutes earlier, your mouth would be on the floor right now. We came a long way in those precious minutes.
She started off feeling unloved because I was disciplining her. She hates the idea of grounding and wished she could have made it through her whole life avoiding it. I did too. But her disrespect for me, and then her switch of attitude once there was a firm consequence announced, revealed to me that she hates her consequences, but not her sin.
Tracing out the pathway that disrespect for parents inevitably leads a child down, I showed her some logical patterns that she could expect in her life if she did not change her attitude toward me.
Disregard for my instruction will lead to disregard for the instruction of an employer. She could easily see that she would then have a hard time finding a job.
Talking to me in a rude, mean way, and making wild remarks could easily morph into ruined friendships and eventually into ruining her (very distant future) marriage. Daniel and I do not talk to each other that way, and it damages a relationship to speak or act with disregard for another's feelings, even when she is mad.
And, ultimately, a child who shows lack of respect for her parents will not want to heed the teachings of God--and that is too large of a price to pay.
I contrasted 2 lists found in Galatians 5:
First: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. (I edited for age appropriateness!)
Second: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
She knew the second list. And said "self-control" when I was still at "joy." She is a smart one.
Since this afternoon when the grounding occurred, she has either been on her bed, at the dinner table with us, or doing chores. Her attitude has been overall cheerful, and she has told me she knows she needed a strong consequence.
I have grieved each time I walk past her closed door. I miss her playing games with us, I miss her tinkling on the piano, playing the 5 songs she knows. I miss her smile and her contributions to our conversations. I think this is harder on me than on her.
Now I have decided I want someone in my life to show me where I am going wrong, to give me a firm consequence, and to love me back to the right direction.
But, alas, I am an adult, and I am accountable to myself and to God. Daniel and I can help each other, but only so much. He can't ground me :o)
It is up to me to become more and more self-controlled. To think before I speak, to weigh my motives and my attitudes, to do what is right even when I don't feel like it.
No one but me can change my heart, no one but me can grow my faith. With God's strength I can be all I want and need to be. But it takes work. I feel like my daughter--full of reasons and excuses--but when Truth is laid before me I know I am accountable for my own actions.
As I gear up for an insanely busy fall, homeschooling my 3 precious kids; grading papers (this year I have 2 extra high school sets and Jr. High papers as well); shuffling soccer (all 3 are playing!!) and church activities; aiding my husband in his ministry by having people in our home weekly, being at his events, going over his papers and plans; maybe doing some tutoring; and all the normal wife and mom things I love to do, I know I have to make some changes in my time management.
I have not decided yet what I will change. I most likely will give up Facebook. I know I will not watch any shows online (we don't have cable but watch a few shows on Hulu). I doubt I will talk on the phone much at all.
You can be praying for me as I figure out how to love my husband, my kids, and my home with all I am. That is my heart's desire, but I have strayed from putting my full time and attention into them.
If I want my daughter to crave the Fruit of the Spirit, then I must be joyfully displaying them. Period.
Oh, and let's pray for no more groundings--it's really hard on me :o)