I just called my husband at work to get his advice on discipline regarding my 10 y. o.  Not that I can’t handle such things myself, or that I should be interuppting him with household management while he is trying to earn a buck to support us, but he is wise.  We like to stay on the same page regarding our kids, especially when the going gets rough. 

My 10 y.o. is a sweet faced child with a cheerful attitude, most of the time.  That’s the kicker – only most of the time.  The 10 percent factor for her reality is that she can be the most mean spirited, cheating, lying, manipulative monster on the planet!  She is so petite and cute, and therefore all the more likely to feign her innocence in front of loving parents.  She is typical of a child who is from a severe neglect, probably abused background.  Lying, stealing, cheating to survive, her feral persona comes out in unexpected moodswings,  and visits our home for days, even weeks at a time. 

Big brother, aka my 15 y.o., just brought her and little brother up to the house.  He found the little sinner yelling her lungs out at little brother while they were feeding sheep.  A control freak at heart – her survival instict – she turned on him because he wasn’t doing something ‘just right’ regarding the water bucket.  She took over in a fury and unleashed her whole world of frustration on the unsuspecting little guy.  Apparently a shoving match ensued, with big brother relaying that little brother was only defending himself from the she-bully. 

This precious child, little miss she-bully, had already been put in time-out twice, and even spanked for another major offense earlier in the day.  That was after she had received lots of one-on-one mom time (some call it time-in) as well as a heap of encouraging hugs and words.  What’s next to motivate her in the right direction?

My husband agreed with me on the phone that she needed to eat an early supper, then head to bed.  She does get cranky and uncooperative when she hasn’t had enough sleep.   First, I’ll breathe with her, then talk to her so she can own up to her sin in the situation gone bad.  Then I’ll correct her, pray with her, allow her to apologize, and forgive her.  Later she can make it right with little brother.  After supper, hopefully, a good night’s sleep will give her a fresh start.   With parents teaming together for her benefit, there will be change and blessing for her.

I’m glad my honey is my tag-team mate.   The most challenging kids need two parents who agree on the big picture, and the small details.  Kids will try to divide and conquer to get their way, so Dad and Mom need to stay in synch with each other at all times. Mom and Dad need to work together, and relieve each other when necessary. Hubby and I try to start the morning in conversation, touch base at lunch, then regroup in the evening.  It helps to connect throughout the day to stay on course with life, and especially parenting.  When he walks through that door tonight, he’ll get my big hug and kiss, then “‘Tag , Honey! It’s your turn to be IT with the kids!