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Helping Children Keep Commitments


When my husband and I were raising our children, we had to learn how to balance a respect for their feelings with the need to teach them the importance of keeping commitments. This was a learning process for us.

Our children loved to sign up for extracurricular activities, but once they lost interest, they often wanted to drop out immediately. With our strong-willed child, this often led to a series of arguments and sometimes, unfortunately, we gave in. Then we learned to sit down with the child and tell them we respected their feelings and would give them the option of dropping out after they had completed a specified amount of time (usually a semester or until they had completed any obligations to be in a performance). At the end of that time period, we had them write out their reasons for quitting and state that this was their choice. They signed and dated the letter (and I kept it for future reference, if necessary.)

Eventually, we learned a better approach. We sat down with them before they signed up for the activity and discussed the expectations and determined how long they would have to keep that commitment. Then we wrote out a contract and the child, my husband, and I signed and dated it. This shifted some of the responsibility to the child’s shoulders and it cut down on the complaints because we all had copies of the letter. (This began when our children were mid-elementary school age.)

Some parents are naturally good at being consistent with their children. Tom and I had to learn the hard way. Thankfully, the Lord patiently instructed us and we gradually improved.

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  1. Judy

    God is so good! He brings us all along as we grow. There is such wisdom in helping them walk through the leaning process of commitment. This one is a huge hurtle in life!!!

    • Jorja Stewart

      Yes, indeed!


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