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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Our If / Then Chart

"But I wanna do what I wanna do."

I hear that phrase quite often.

Because the Tongginator is oppositionally defiant, y'all. If you don't know what that means, I hope you realize how truly blessed you are.

Or maybe you should know what oppositionally defiant means, but you don't, and you privately think some of your friends are crazy when they describe their children as strong-willed... because their children have NOTHING on your child.


That was me until about a month ago.

My friends who describe their children as strong-willed aren't simply whining: their children ARE strong-willed. But that means - gasp! - that the Tongginator is one step up from being strong-willed: she is 100% oppositionally defiant.

Tonggu Grammy, my sister KitKat and my friend Canuck K have been telling me that fact for over six months now. I, however, With Infinite Wisdom and Great Maturity, stuck my fingers in my ears and sang "la, la, la!!!!" at the top of my lungs.

Not anymore.

I've pulled my fingers out of my ears and stopped singing.

You can say thank you now.

(I'm tone-deaf.)

Recently I created a behavior chart that is beginning to work it's magic. Actually, I don't think magic is the best word to use, since I based the chart entirely on Biblical principles. My sister KitKat loaned me a really old book called For Instruction in Righteousness by Pam Forster. I also dusted off my copy of Lisa Whelchel's Creative Correction.

Thank you, God.

And thank you, KitKat.

Here is a picture of our new behavior chart (click on the photo to see a larger version):

I love how all of the "offenses" include Scriptural references so that God's Word is final. I even more enjoy how all of the "consequences" tie in with Scriptural references.

My personal favorites?

One would be the consequence for "failure to use bathroom appropriately." Yes, I know. Please feel sorry for me. We've experienced it all -- I won't go into details, but just know that it's been Fun Times at Tonggu House this past year. I once wrote a blog post entitled "The Ebb and Flow of Pee," but the Husband wouldn't allow me to post it.

Which was probably a good idea.

Although it WAS really, really funny bordering on hysterical (take your pick as to which definition of hysterical I intended).

But anyway, the consequence for "failure to use bathroom appropriately" is "loss of pants." This means we stay home for the rest of the day, y'all. Because one needs to wear something on the bottom half of one's body if one wants to appear in public. The Biblical Scripture to defend this consequence is Proverbs 13:18, "Whoever ignores discipline shall come to poverty and shame."

Get it? Poverty - no pants. Shame - no pants. I love it!!!! Not because I am vengeful, but because we've drastically reduced our number of bathroom incidents since first implementing The Chart.

Angels are singing with me, y'all.

Another favorite is the consequence relating to the offense "using mean words" (Proverbs 27:2). If the Tongginator speaks negatively to a peer or adult, she loses the privilege of speaking for 10 minutes. The Scripture to back it up? Psalm 12:3-4. "The Lord cuts off all flattering lips and boastful tongues." And what are mean words if not expressions of pride?

I could go on and on raving about The Chart. That's because, in reality, I'm raving about God's Word as the final authority when it comes to discipline in Tonggu House.

Finally, after three years of parenting, I'm starting to get it right.

Thank you, God, for not giving up on me.

This behavior chart works for me. What works for you?


bugs parents said...

How can I get a copy of your chart?!

Mrs. N. said...

Hmmm, some good stuff here for sure! Pumpkindoodle says that exact phrase "I want to do what I want to do" several times a day.

Gayle said...

I LOVE THIS! I might have to make different charts for each kids because not only do they range in age from 13 to 5 but they all have different issues they struggle with.

Thanks for a great idea!

Capturing Today said...

Sounds like it is working - great job! You'd probably like this site as a great reference too:


Keep up the good work!

Veronica Mitchell said...

I've seen enough of oppositionally defiant kids to know my three-year-old isn't one, but she is definitely "contrary" as we say around here. The nursery workers at church have been gently trying to get her to attend junior church instead. They only told me about it last week. I had to explain to them, "If you ask her a question, she will say no just because she thinks you want her to say yes. It's really better not to give her a choice."

Hadias said...

I have a mini version of a similar chart in my Home Making Binder. It list each biblical offence and scriptural verse to support it. Whenever we need to train or correct our children we open up the binder and use it as a reference.

The chart that you made is very creative and will be visually helpful in traingin your daughter.

Thanks for sharing.

Wani said...

Thats such a great idea! I've been having power struggles with my three year old and I might have to try this! Thanks for sharing!
C'mon by Wani's World and check out my WFMW!

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh my gosh, I'm laughing so hard I'm laughing. She loses her pants? I mean, BBJ wouldn't care...but Miss T is a bit older...and probably cares about being naked! hahahahaha That's PERFECT. I'll have to remember that.

Anonymous said...

SOO Funny! How did you come up with the NO Pants? I love it!

marigold said...

Wow! That is a great chart! I love how it's laminated and screwed into the door! Good job!

Mrs. Darling said...

Yep, Oppostonal defiance disorder takes on a whole new look from the typical stubborn child. I have one of those ODD kids myself and you have my sympathies.

Kerri said...

Very neat! I think it is awesome how God has given you those creative ideas!

Isn't For Instruction in Righteousness by the doorposts.net people? They are awesome. They make a little chart sort of like yours for those that don't have the creativity and energy that you do. But yours is more customized.

We have been using their "Brother Offended" chart. It is a little crash couse in Biblical peacemaking.

Dawn said...

First of all, I would love to read "The Ebb and Flow of Pee". I'm immature and I find potty humor funny. Second, I love how your chart has certain consequences for certain bad behaviors. I've been taking privileges away but it's the same privileges for all bad behavior, and it isn't working. I am definitely going to try a version of your If/Then chart. What a great idea.

Carla said...

LOVE it. Unfortunately I know what Oppositional Defiance is, and just how "stepped up" from strong willed it is. I too have spent many hours on my knees going "Lord, please tell me what I am doing wrong here! Please promise me he will end up a productive contributing member of society and good person because quite frankly I don't see it happening after today."

Oh how I've been there, and will be there. This chart is fabulous! I will be "stealing" the idea, and hunting down that book. Oh yes, Ma'am I will.

Gerbil said...

my older son wasn't ODD, and I can only imagine living with it but we struggled with some profound ADD and legendary meltdowns from a very early age. Legendary. 123 Magic was my go-to and amusingly, it continued to work into his teens.

Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

I am starting to think my 4 year old spicy girl from Hunan fits into this category!!!