Although I encourage them to share on their own, I do make my children share occasionally. And although I tell them that they choose to obey, they really don’t have that option.
As they get older, I’ll probably give them more genuine choices. I haven’t thought about which choices are negotiable yet. I’ll have to pray for wisdom when we get there.
In the meantime, I’m thinking of ways that I can encourage or discourage good behavior (not spiritual behavior yet, since our children are unsaved). Maybe you can help me think of more.
- I figured out that my children sing in church when they know the songs. If I take the time to work on songs at home, I’m encouraging them to sing without saying a word.
- Pointing out how sharing makes others happy. It’s not a substitute for also teaching that sharing pleases God, but children sometimes have to be taught how to love others. Finding what pleases others is an important part of that.
- Giving them words to say to solve problems. Like telling them to ask “May I play with that when you’re done?”
- My mom told my brother he could stay up as long as he wanted at night if he was reading his Bible.
- Telling them ahead of time when we are leaving soon, or giving them five minutes warning when we are changing activities.