When my son was having trouble listening to me or doing what I asked, I tried every kind of reward or punishment I could think of and nothing seemed to get it into his head. He is a rough and tumble sort of boy and likes (as most boys do) to harass his older sister. Finally, an idea came to me.
We are all familiar with the "golden rule" (Luke 6:31). Basically treat others the way you want to be treated. A timeless concept. I sat him down and explained this rule he had heard before, but didn't really grasp. I asked him if he wanted people to be nice to him, he had to be nice to others. However, I also added that when he was rude or disrespectful, that it told me that that was how he wanted to be treated. He got that look of "are we done so I can go play" on his face. He needed some way to make it make sense. So, for the next 2 weeks every time he poked his sister, or ignored me, I returned the action and said,"So what you are saying is you want me to do this to YOU?" At first he thought it was funny. Soon it grew old and he started thinking before he acted (as much as a 6yr old boy can). I was very pleased with the outcome. His behavior in school also improved drastically. Something actually worked!!
Remember though.....there is a twist.
Yesterday my son had an incident at school. He was on the playground and another student pinned him to the ground and started strangling him. Literally trying to choke him. My son had red marks on his neck and was very frightened. We talked to the school to get the full story. A teacher witnessed it. My son was playing with a kid on the playground and this child got mad at Gabe for not "playing right". So the kid punched him in the stomach then again in the chest. Gabe tried to defend himself, which made the child more angry. He then lunged at Gabe, put both hands around his throat and squeezed. The kid had to be pulled off of him. Emotions ran through me that don't become a lady, nor a Christian when my son came home and told his story through his tears. Mama bear was out. We are thinking of pulling him out of school. A child should not fear for his life in Kindergarten.....or ever. I was also upset that we had to pry information out of school staff and nobody notified me by phone. All I received was a 2 sentence note home that his neck had been hurt and they had iced it. Praise God my baby is ok.
When asking my son his version of the story (before we spoke to school staff) I asked if he had hit the boy or made him mad or had been harassing him. I thought surely this attack must've been provoked (staff said it was not, as did my son). Gabe cringed at the question of hitting the boy. He gave a quick "Yes, but...". My husband stopped him and asked for a yes or no. Gabe hung his head and said, "Yes, but don't you want to know why?"...... "He hit me first and the bible says to treat others the way we want to be treated."
Mmmmmm tasty foot.
In his mind he was doing what I had done to him and taught him. The kid hit him so in Gabe's mind the kid wanted to be hit back. ::Sigh:: Well at least I know he remembered the lesson.
I assured him that he is allowed to defend himself if he HAS to. But I wasn't sure what to say about his take on the Bible verse. At least not without snickering....