I don't normally post things like this, but I needed some encouragment today.
Yesterday was a rough day in our house. We had friends over for lunch and playing, and my children completely shocked me with their behavior and treatment of our guests. These children are quite a bit younger than mine. They are 3 and 5, my dc are 7 and 8, but they have always played well together and their mom is a good friend of mine. My children were selfish with their toys, spoke rudely to these other children when they accidentally messed up a game they were playing, and my dd actually hit the 3yo for spilling some water. I was appalled. I have no idea where this behavior came from, because I have never seen my children treat others this way. When dd hit the other child, I made her go lie down on my bed for the remainder of their stay in our home. She was not allowed to play or talk with the other children, until right before they left when I made her clean up the mess by herself. My 8yo ds told those kids they could play with anything they wanted except his cars. And later, I gave him the comparison that what he was doing by not sharing his cars would be like me fixing a big dinner and dessert for our guests and telling them to eat all they wanted, but that they couldn't have any dessert because I wanted it all for myself.
It took about 2 hours of discussion for my husband and I to come to an agreement about what to do. What we decided is probably the most extreme we've ever been, but we realized that this situation isn't the first time our children have shown selfishness and been rude because they didn't get their way. I think God was really giving us a wake-up call yesterday.
So, we have taken all their toys and books, except their Bibles, away from them and have moved all of that to our guest room. They have to earn them back by showing selflessness, thankfulness, and helpfulness over the coming days/weeks. We were also going to visit grandparents for the holiday weekend and cancelled our trip. What would be the point of taking away all their toys at home on Thursday only to have them in a room full of grandma's toy on Friday? Also, they are always spoiled at grandma's house, and spoiling is not something they deserve right now. We also decided that they would write letters of apology today to their friends and the friends' mom. Finally, we had a long talk with them about showing love to everyone but especially giving the best of what we have to guests in our home. Hospitality is a huge deal to me, and I thought I was passing that along to my children. Guess not.
I have no idea what we're going to do this weekend. It's going to be a long 3 days at home with no toys, no movies, no visiting, nothing. Dh and I have been wracking our brains to figure out what to do with the children over the weekend. We are planning some yard work and some organizing in the garage, but are lost as to what else to do to occupy time but still have a pleasant weekend. Any suggestions are welcome...
Anyway, one minute I feel like I'm being too hard on them, and the next I realize that we're probably doing them the biggest favor of their lives by having them learn these hard lessons. I guess I just need some encouragment, maybe if you've ever done anything similar to what we're doing.