Can Other People Correct Your Child?

Can Other People Correct Your Child?

Over the weekend my friend Connie asked on Facebook, “How do you feel about other people correcting your kids?”  I thought it was interesting, so I asked it on my page too.  It started me thinking, why do people get so upset about this?

Do you get upset when someone else corrects your child?

First I will say that I not only don’t mind, I appreciate it when other people correct my children.  It doesn’t happen very often because I am almost always right there and I am quick to correct my kids.  But they know that if someone else corrects them they are to show respect and heed the correction.  I also really appreciate if a friend tells me if she had to correct my kids (in case I didn’t hear) so I know how to deal with it later.

The most common response on FB was something like, “I don’t mind unless the other person is mean/grumpy/telling my kids not to do something I let them do.”  The problem with this thinking is it is arbitrary and impossible for other people to know.  Other responses were they get annoyed if someone does it while they are standing right there.  But there are times when this is acceptable.

This is about authority, not feelings.  There are clear times when someone else has authority to correct your child.  If you are in my home, I have authority over some areas, even if you are standing right there.  If your child is drinking his grape juice on my carpet, I have the right to tell him to stop and give him direction for where he can drink his juice.

I will generally tell children some of our house rules when they arrive so they know what is expected.  I understand that people have different sets of boundaries in their homes of course!  But I have actually had a woman tell me, after I just announced which rooms were off limits, “We let Johnny explore. I don’t want him to have boundaries.”  I asked her, “Are you planning to follow him around while he’s ‘exploring’?  If not, then he needs to stay where I told him.”  I have a right to make those kinds of rules in my home and to enforce them. (She later told me that she believes her children should never have to obey anyone but their parents and she has told her children that they don’t have to do what I say.  This woman has robbed her children of a God-given life lesson.  And you can imagine how unpleasant her children are to be around.)

If we are at the park and I tell my kids where they can go, I don’t have a right to expect other kids to follow that.  It’s not my area of authority.   If we are in the grocery store and a child is running their cart into things, I have authority to tell them to stop.  It is against the general rules of the store.  In the movie theater, I have the right to ask the child behind me to stop kicking my seat.

I have been in other people’s homes where their children were jumping on furniture, hanging off balconies and doing things I would never allow my children to do.  But I don’t have any authority to correct them, especially if the parents are right there.  It definitely makes me uncomfortable, but I stay quiet.

But that is not necessarily discipline.  If it’s just something they really didn’t know and not a discipline issue, I like to speak directly to the child.  I feel like it shows them respect and helps me build a relationship with them.  I see telling them not to drink on the carpet as a teaching situation, not necessarily correcting.  It is best if possible, when dealing with a discipline issue, to speak to the mom instead of the child.  This is especially if you don’t have a good relationship with their family.

This gets tricky because, as we all know, moms get really defensive about this.  Look, I get it.  The times I have had someone tell me something about my child or harshly corrected them in front of me I got my back up for a second.  It’s a natural, fleshly reaction.  But I almost immediately make myself stop and realize that I need to practice self-control and maturity.  It’s not an insult or a criticism, and even if it is I can handle that and I want my children to know how to handle that.  Their lives will be much better for it.

I have 2 ideas on this….first, I want my kids to learn respect for others over protecting their own feelings.  If they are corrected and it hurts their feelings in some way, they will get over it.  If they can be respectful and generous to the grumpy person, they have the satisfaction of knowing they are developing a wisdom that is pleasing to God.  Second, you can tell someone that you prefer they not correct your child without turning it into an offense.  Why do we have to get so upset about it?!  It is an opportunity to grow and learn and become better at dealing with problems.

I have, if I have a relationship with them, spoken to a child about a character issue.  But I try to do it in kindness and love with the goal of helping, not criticizing.  It is not always received that way, but then it’s just another opportunity for me to learn to forgive.  We can’t seek a perfect, trouble-free life and ever really grow.

In closing, I want to add that it is never OK to physically discipline someone else’s child.  Again, it’s a simple matter of authority.  Even if someone told me I could do that, I wouldn’t.  There are plenty of ways to teach a child in your care without touching them.

I know this is long and if you are still reading, I really just want to say that my goal in sharing this is that we all become a little less sensitive about letting other people speak into our child’s life.  It is good for them to understand that other adults have wisdom and authority over them in some areas.  And if it’s a gray area then they should be kind and generous no matter what it makes them feel like.

Thanks for hanging in there with me for this LONG post.  :)

The NO TOUCH Rule

The NO TOUCH Rule

This is an easy way to help kids learn to get along better!  -- The Pennington Point

It’s time for some more sibling love.

Sometimes you just want a tip that gives you a physical way to tell when you need to make a correction.  I mean, talking about consistency and love is great but…..not always so easy to grab a hold of.  This one you can’t miss.  Here you go…..

Don’t let your kids touch each other.

It’s that simple.  I don’t mean hugging and being silly, of course!  I’m talking about when they are criticizing or correcting or arguing.  No touching.  Not ever.

You might be thinking I’m just talking about hitting, but it’s a lot more than that.  It’s pulling someone’s hand away or pushing/nudging them or grabbing something away from them.

If a boy wants his sister to stop leaning into his space, he shouldn’t push her away.  He should ask her to move.  Then she should move willingly.  If she won’t move, instead of pushing her he can follow my tattling plan or he can nicely ask you for help with the problem.  But forcibly moving another person is never the solution.

Last week at the dinner table one of my boys, instead of verbally correcting his brother for not leaning over the plate with his food, gently pushed his brother’s hand back over the plate.  He wasn’t mean about it, but it still was not OK.  So I just reminded him that instead of pushing, he could have just mentioned it to his brother and if it became a problem then he could talk with me about it and together we would figure out some ways he could handle that.

The other person should have the opportunity to decide whether or not they are going to move, stop, give up the toy, whatever.  It should not be forced upon them.

If, after reading this, you notice that your kids are doing it, sit them all down and talk about how it’s wrong to force another person to do something.  We all want to be respected and treated with kindness.

Then run through some practice sessions.  Have one of them invade the other’s space then freeze and talk through their options, having them pretend they’re doing each one.  It’s like a game and they can see what it looks like to be respectful and how to properly respond when someone asks you to stop something you are doing.  The recipient definitely needs to practice responding with kindness also!  And Bible verses are great to reinforce this.

Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Go HERE for 10 more verses great for siblings to learn.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out some of my other posts in my Parenting Gallery!

Boys and Their Toys

Boys and Their Toys

This post is sponsored by AutoRight.

Y’all know I am all about my kids developing great character, so when my son lost his retainer (yep, wrapped it in a napkin at a restaurant and forgot it) we decided to allow him to work off the replacement cost by giving him a long list of extra jobs to do around here.  One of those jobs, poor kid, is detail cleaning all 4 of our cars.

He started with my minivan because, and I don’t want to name names here, mine is by far the cleanest.  The rest of the cars get progressively dirtier until he gets to the 15 passenger van which is possibly about an inch from being condemned.

He was given instructions for how to get it really, really clean.  None of this kinda-clean-I-hope-no-one-notices-that-one-spot-I-skipped stuff.

But who says detail cleaning has to be boring?  I knew just how to make it fun for him.  I handed him an AutoRight Detailing Polisher.  What boy doesn’t love gadgets and gun-shaped tools?

AutoRight Car Detailing Polisher

He washed the car first (using our favorite car wash wand!) then I gave him the polisher, all charged up and ready to go.  Since it’s cordless, it’s easy.

It comes with a scrub brush, polishing pad, cotton applicator and microfiber applicator.  He went to town scrubbing the bugs off of the front and getting the windows all clear.  He knows how much I hate a dirty window.

AutoRight Car Detailing Polisher

After cleaning the windows he waxed it using the pad attachment.  Whoosh!

Win an AutoRight Detail Polisher!

He also buffed the dashboard and inside walls with the microfiber cloth attachment.  In the end, he had a fun time doing the finishing touches on the car AND it is looking so suh-weet! (well, as sweet as a minivan can get)

He felt pretty cool about it.

AutoRight Car Detailing Polisher

If you want to get your car as shiny and clean as mine, enter below to win your own AutoRight Detailing Polisher!  But my hard-working son doesn’t come with it, in case you’re wondering.

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5 Tips for Handling Lying

5 Tips for Handling Lying

Lying can be a hard thing to conquer.  These 5 tips are a great place to start! -- The Pennington Point

My husband and I have always felt that most important thing to focus on in raising our kids is building godly character.  Integrity, strength of courage and trustworthiness are missing in so many people these days.  What is more valuable than teaching our children to be truthful in all things?

All 9 of our children have struggled with lying at one point or another.  It is difficult to break once it has become a habit.  I want to share with you some of the things we do to help them break the habit.

1. Talk with them about honesty

Not a lecture, but a simple talk.  Give them Bible verses about truthfulness and help them understand how important it is to be honest at all cost.  Above all, don’t show frustration.  Let them know that they are loved and you are confident they can work to regain your trust.

When I say talk, I mean really dig deep.  Read some verses about truth and memorize them together.  Discuss what they think about the verses.

2. Listen

Ask them what they think about lying and if they have ideas that will help them stop.  Listen to their heart, it is your key to understanding their struggle.  The clues you get from listening can help you figure out why they feel compelled to lie in the first place.  Sometimes it’s just become a habit, but sometimes it’s a deeper issue.

3. Pray

Ask God to show you ways to help your child stop lying.  Also, let them know that you pray for them and make sure they see you praying.  When you see them struggling, take their hand and pray together.

God has given me the most creative ideas when I ask Him.  Once, I was inspired to have one of the boys write down his lies each day.  He had a little pad of paper and teeny pen that were just for that.  I never looked at it or asked him about it, but it made him aware of how often he was doing it and it really helped him stop.  That idea came to me through prayer.

God is ready with His infinite wisdom to help you with your parenting struggles.

4. Pay close attention

Keep them close and spend extra time with your struggling child.  They need you to help them through and hold them accountable.  Don’t let them be in their room all afternoon without any accountability for what they are doing.  Try to find ways to stay close either by working together or by having some down time (games, reading aloud, watching a DVD together, etc.) together.

If you’re busy and can’t do that, then have them stay close by.  While you check emails, for example, have them do schoolwork in the same room.

5. Discipline

Whatever method of discipline you choose, the key is to be consistent.  It’s important that they get caught anytime they are lying.  If you suspect a lie, don’t spend too much time pressing for the truth.  Trust your instincts and deal with the issue directly.

Occasionally it will happen that you discipline for lying when they were telling the truth.  I tell my kids that when that happens, they should remember that there were times they lied and didn’t get caught.  This is a good opportunity for them to reflect on the real consequences of lying which is that after a few lies, people won’t believe you even if you’re being honest.  I assure them that they can work toward being believed again by telling the truth and earning our trust.

And remember Mom and Dad, this is not a quick fix.  It takes time to break a habit and regain trust.  Keep working together, be patient and above all let your child know they are loved no matter what!

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight”  Proverbs 12:22

 

Do Teens Need Privacy?

Do Teens Need Privacy?

In the past week I have had three phone calls with desperate moms who need help in handling a teen who keeps crying out about the injustice of having their privacy invaded. I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts about this with you all too….in case any of you are also dealing with this issue.

The truth about teens demanding their privacy....

The thing about teens needing privacy is…..it’s bunk.  This is a “rule” of life that the teen just made up.  Then society and psychology feeds it by telling them that they deserve it.  I’m sorry, but it simply isn’t true.

Yes, we all need times that we can be alone with our thoughts to figure out problems or rest or help a friend occasionally.  But the idea that we should be able to keep secrets about what we are doing or planning or that kids should be allowed to hide their texts from their parents is pure craziness.

You, the parents, are responsible for your child’s actions and you are providing for and protecting them.  They have no right to privacy from you.  You give them the privacy that YOU think they need, not that they demand.  In fact, the more they demand it the less I will give.  That just tells me that they are hiding something and that’s not OK.

God gave us all a built in private place through our thoughts, dreams and prayers.  Your children have that automatically and they have complete control over how much of that they will share with you.  Parents definitely should not try to push their way into their child’s thoughts.  It’s disrespectful.

BUT they do not automatically get privacy over what’s in their drawers or who they talk to on the phone or where they are going.  That privacy is earned by proving you are trustworthy.

Now let me say here that I have never gone through my children’s drawers or made them show me their texts.  When we have a problem, I may tell them that because I am not trusting them in a certain area it would be best if they show me those things.  If they refuse (which has never happened so I am just thinking here) I would take the phone, contents of the drawer, etc. from them and hold it until they agreed to show it to me and discuss it responsibly and face whatever consequences come with their choices.  I would not just look through it behind their back unless I felt something dangerous was happening.

I work hard to make sure my kids can trust me not to overreact when they tell me they have done something they shouldn’t.  However, I have no problem taking a phone away, putting restrictions on it, holding favorite toys, whatever it takes to teach the lesson.  I love my children too much to let something like an ipod or toy come between them and their godly character.

The very idea that a child (and yes, teens are still children no matter what they think) can demand to have secret phone conversations or hide what is in their purse is simply the result of a world losing touch with righteousness.

Here’s what God has to say on the matter from Luke 12:2-3, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”

He also says in Romans 13 that we are not to resist the authorities that God has appointed for us.  It is clear on that subject, but never says anything about 13 year olds having a right to use their phone at midnight.

I know this seems harsh.  I do think that a responsible, respectful teen should be able to have some private areas, as long as he knows that he is subject to being asked to share those places if a problem arises.  The main point is that YOU decide where privacy is allowed and not.  A young person does not yet have the wisdom, no matter how smart they are, to understand when that is necessary.  They also do not carry the weight of the financial, emotional, legal, physical or spiritual responsibility if something serious happens as a result of their actions.  You have every right to know what they are doing.

As long as my children are doing their work, taking care of their things, being respectful and kind….I give them privacy.  Although what’s funny is they don’t really feel the need for it as much if they aren’t trying to hide anything, which leads to me being happy to give it to them….the beautiful circle of trust.

 

10 Bible Verses for Brothers & Sisters

10 Bible Verses for Brothers & Sisters

Many moms talk to me about how their kids fight and don’t get along.  People will tell them that’s just the way it is and they should accept it.

No!  My guide through life is not what society tells me is OK, but what God says is OK.  And He says fighting with our brothers and sisters is WRONG.

I put together a list of great Bible verses to learn as a family that will help your kids understand what God says about getting along.  Memorize them, talk about them, have your kids copy them in an artful way and frame them, write them on notes….get them into your heart  and mind any way you can!

10 Bible verses for brothers and sisters! -- The Pennington Point

1. Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and reconcile to them; then come and offer your gift.”

God says we can’t even come to Him unless we try to work out our problems with our siblings.  This is a great example to point out when your kids want something from you but they aren’t getting along.  You could point out that you will listen to them after they go and reconcile with their brother.

2. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Kindness and forgiveness….it’s at the heart of Christianity.  We are the example to the world that we are different.  We teach our children to ask for forgiveness when they hurt or wrong someone else.  But we also teach them that you should forgive another person even of they don’t ask for it.

3. Proverbs 12:1 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

I love this verse.  Teaching our children to love discipline is a challenge, but you can do it.  In the case of siblings, they need to be willing to take correction from their siblings and not get defensive about reproof.  I encourage my children that while they don’t have the authority to be bossy, they do have the responsibility to help each other learn and grow.

4. 1 John 1:8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

No one is perfect….this is an important lesson in getting along with others.  Knowing that you are imperfect is key to being understanding when other people mess up.

5. 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”

We do not all have the same talents.  You may not be good at what your brother is good at.  We teach our children to rejoice in each other’s gifts and talents and it makes or a very sweet family life.

6. Matthew 20:28 “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Having your children serve one another is a gift to them for their entire lives.  Helping with chores, moving out of someone’s way, just doing what you can to bless someone else is how we all need to treat each other.

7. Proverbs 31: 8-9 “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy”

This verse shows us how to treat those less fortunate.  If your child thinks his sister is “dumb” or a “pain” then instead of belittling her he should work to build her up.

8. Hebrews 13:16 ” Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God”

Sharing.  Yep.  It’s important.  I am not good at sharing either if I’m being honest….but I do it and I do it with a whole heart for God and because I choose to love that other person more than I love myself.  I want to please God.  Sometimes that’s all the motivation we have to offer and we must teach our children that in the end that should be enough.

9. Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

It’s just so hard to think of others sometimes, especially when you’re young and immature.  Building these abilities takes time and patience and perseverance.  Don’t be upset when your child acts selfishly, but keep feeding the Word into them over and over.

10. Galatians 5:26 “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another”

Conceit, provoking, envy.  One, or maybe all, of those will be at the core of sibling problems.  Ask God to show you which of these your child struggles with and help him through it.  Don’t let him get away with acting out and keep on top of him, but let him know that you understand his feelings.  They are something you want to help him conquer.

Learning these verses together and sharing your thoughts about them is the best way to help your kids learn to get along!

 

Sibling Relationships & Consistency

Sibling Relationships & Consistency

One of the difficulties in helping your kids build godly relationships with each is teaching them to be happy for one another.   It takes maturity to set your own wants aside and let someone else get the attention.  This kind of maturity takes time to develop.  I want to encourage you to be patient about it, but still expect growth.

A great tip is to be very, very consistent.  I can’t stress enough how important consistency is in every area of raising kids.  If you teach them, for example, to act joyful when their brother is opening his birthday presents and not get all annoyingly selfish about it.  Then when they flub up…..hold them to it.  Correct the behavior, don’t let them get away with acting like they should get some of the stuff their brother has.   But also be kind and understanding.

Don’t get mad or irritated by it.  Just keep correcting and don’t give in.

You can’t expect them to show loving care for their sibling if half of the time they get the message from you that being jealous and attention grabbing works.  Spend time teaching them how much God loves them and gives them each what they need.

Keep at it…..it is possible for your kids to love each other and rejoice in each other’s blessings!

Here are a couple of articles I recently wrote about raising kids.  Parenting is a tough job and it’s always nice to get some encouragement on the journey!

9 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Your Kids

10 Creative Ways to Show Love to Your Kids

And here’s a great one my daughter Grace wrote about how God uses the struggles in life to grow you!

When Life Gives Your Broken Sharks

Have a great weekend!

This is part of a year long series on sibling relationships.  To start from the beginning go HERE.

Helping Siblings Find Their Love for Each Other

Helping Siblings Find Their Love for Each Other

Since it’s the day of love, I have to talk a little today about helping siblings show love for each other.

Sometimes the heart comes before the actions, but sometimes the actions come first.  In this case, you can act like you love someone even if you don’t always feel it.  Being loving toward someone doesn’t require feeling loving toward them.

Do your kids need encouragement in showing love for one another

When I notice a bitterness growing between a couple of my kids, I will give them some assignments.  I will tell them each to do something kind for the other, in secret.  I give them some ideas if they need it, then they are to only tell me what they did.  Don’t tell anyone else!

It’s a way of helping them think about what their sibling needs and what pleases him.  To think about another person is a skill that we need to practice and this is a good way since it’s done in secret. Telling only you about the kindness gives you a chance to help them see where the gaps are in their acts of kindness.  Is it really helping their sibling?  Can they do more?  Are they thinking of themselves?  Did they successfully bless their sibling?

You should praise their efforts even if it was small, even if you are a bit disappointed in the lack of sacrifice.  Then give them their next assignment.  Maybe they need some guidance.  But the bulk of the idea should be their own. Of course, they don’t know that their sibling is being given the same task.

Some ideas for secret acts of kindness:
1. make their bed
2. clear their place at the table
3. finish a chore for them
4. help with school work
5. share your dessert
6. let them have first choice on something
7. ask their advice
8. give a genuine compliment
9. offer to do something they like
10. let them have the best place to sit These are just a few ideas to get you started.

Encouraging this kind of love between siblings is a great way to build a godly, loving relationship!

Love One Another: Obedience is Key

Love One Another: Obedience is Key

One of the questions I get asked most often is about siblings fighting.  “How do you keep your kids from fighting?!”

There are many possible root issues for fighting and we will talk about some of those later in the series, but today I am going to tell you my first tip on this.  It is about obedience.

Obedience to parents is key to siblings getting along....great post!

(I know….people don’t like the word obedience, but God uses it in His Word so I am comfortable using it.)

In order for you to have influence over your children’s relationship with each other, they need to be obedient to you.  If you say, “You two need to stop arguing and get your chores finished,” they should immediately do it.

You can deal with heart and sin issues later, but for now let’s just help them to obey you.  If your children are fighting even after you have told them to stop, then I suspect they are not obeying you in many other areas as well.  It’s up to you to pay attention to their willingness to do what you tell them to.

Teaching them to obey you at the dinner table or at bedtime is part of teaching them to get along with one another.  It’s all connected.

So work on obedience in your home and you will be making strides in improving their relationship with each other.

Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

Now hang on….we’ll be talking more about their attitudes toward each other next week!  If you’re wondering how to get your children to obey, here are a few of my posts on that subject:

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What to Do About Tattling

What to Do About Tattling

In my series about siblings, one thing we must discuss is tattling.  I get a lot of questions asking about this and I have a great method.  It’s so simple you won’t believe it.

I wrote about this years ago on my old blog that is now in blog heaven.  So I am sharing it again with you here and I hope it blesses you!  Be sure to read the follow-up posts answering a few readers’ questions.


This has worked beautifully in our home for many years, so I hope it inspires you to conquer the tattling issues you may have.

It’s a problem.  I need to know if someone has done something they shouldn’t have. I don’t want my children running to tell me the juicy details of another child’s sin. So how do we solve this?

Here’s how…and it works!

Let’s talk about Susie and Johnny. One afternoon Johnny catches Susie sneaking a cookie from the cookie jar. Does Johnny run to tell Mom? No! Johnny tells Susie, “Go tell Mom you took a cookie.” Susie must go tell on herself….no matter what. Now stay with me….here’s where it gets good. If Susie refuses to tell (I know, your children wouldn’t do that, but let’s just pretend) then Johnny comes to Mom and tells Mom that Susie refuses to tell Mom something. Johnny does NOT tell Mom what Susie did. Susie is then called to Mom (or Mom goes to Susie) and gets automatically disciplined (whatever is your discipline of choice)….just for not telling Mom something when a sibling told her to. After that is dealt with, Susie must still tell Mom she ate a cookie and that is dealt with however it needs to be handled.

What if, you say, Johnny gets a thrill from telling people to go tell Mom things that are unimportant? If Johnny tells Susie to go tell Mom something unimportant then HE gets automatic discipline. So they will be very careful to only use this plan for important things.

There are times when Johnny may not know all of the circumstances. Let’s say Susie appealed to Mom’s soft side and Mom told her she could have a cookie and Johnny didn’t hear that. It doesn’t matter. Susie goes to Mom and says, “Johnny told me to tell you that I ate a cookie.” Mom says, “OK Honey. He didn’t know you were allowed to have one. Thank you for telling me.” Nothing happens to Susie, but she did what she was supposed to do so all is well in the home (well, except for the matter of Johnny now thinking he should have another cookie if Susie got one, but that’s another problem we will solve another time).

Let me lay it out in quick, easy steps:

1. If a child sees a sibling doing something they shouldn’t, they tell them, “Go tell Mom (or Dad) that you ______”
2. There is no discussion between them about it.
3. The child goes to Mom and says “Johnny told me to tell you that I _______”
4. Mom disciplines as necessary (it doesn’t always require discipline).
5. If they refuse to go tell on themselves, the first child goes to Mom and tells her, “Johnny won’ tell you something.” (without telling the actual offense)
6. Mom disciplines for not coming to tell because it’s a matter of family trust….someone tells you to “Go tell Mom” then you have to do it no matter what.
7. Then Mom disciplines separately for the actual offense (making the child go ahead and tell what they did).
8. IF a child sends someone to tell something unimportant then THEY get disciplined.  (the root of this may be trying to get other people in trouble, pride, rejoicing in another’s sin, etc.)

The beauty of this system is that it promotes the Biblical principle of confession. It builds the relationship I have with my children and it doesn’t disintegrate the relationship they have with each other. In our experience it builds trust between them when they are faithful to follow through no matter what. If you are consistent and patient….this plan is foolproof. 

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. “

Be sure to check out my follow-up posts on this topic: More on Tattling and When Little Ones Tattle