7. When you have to concentrate on running such a large family, how do you allow each child to shine individually? I know that you teach them all responsibility and core family values, but each child also has a wonderful individual personality...how can
Praise your children ten times more than you correct them! That is the counsel we received early on and what we have attempted to do all these years. Granted we have not always successfully carried it out everyday but that has been our goal. Praising good character instead of flattering is a learned technique! It’s fine to occasionally praise the outward beauty of a daughter, but if that is all you praise, that is all they will focus on. You first have to learn the definitions of the character qualities to be able to effectively praise others. Here is our favorite list. (Click here for the incredible list of Character Quality Defintions.) We keep these posted on our refrigerator and we memorize the definitions as a family with motions. The children enjoy making motions to the definitions.
Encouragement goes a long way in good behavior. Saying comments such as, “I’m so happy for you, what a big girl you are you practiced self-control and went potty all by yourself! Great job!” or “Thank you for taking out the trash without even being asked. I’m so encouraged by your initiative. You saw what needed to be done and just did it! You encourage me to have more of a servant’s heart.” These kind of positive statements will make our children seek to become even more of who they should be.
Remember anger outbursts from parents will push our children away and undermine the very right character that we are trying to teach them. Asking God and others forgiveness when we react in anger is the first step to learning to respond correctly. One thing that helped me (Michelle) was to purpose to lower my voice when I felt myself getting angry. (A soft answer turns away wrath. The wrath of man will not bring forth the righteousness of God.) Meaning my anger will not bring about the right behavior I desire to see nurtured in my children. Secondly, Jim Bob heard another father share that he had an anger problem and he asked his family to help him by keeping him accountable. If they noticed him getting angry he gave them permission to respectfully come to him and put their hand on his arm and whisper in his ear and say, “Daddy, I think you are getting angry.” This has been something that we have practiced for years now and by God’s grace we have been able to encourage each other to speak kindly to one another even when we feel angry. Not just Daddy and Momma, but all of us now hold each other accountable. It makes for a much more peaceful happy home.