Losing Privileges Can Hit You Like a Ton of Bricks

We had to do it. As much as we love watching our children create with Lego bricks, we took them away a few weeks ago. Our kids were crushed. If you saw their reactions, you'd have thought that we were going to make them march in the Cooterfest parade completely naked. Yes, it was that traumatic.

Packed Away
They hadn't been very responsible with their Lego collection, leaving pieces all of the living room floor (and coffee table, and flower pots, and . . .). In fact, they weren't taking care of other toys as well, from American Girl dolls to trains, from stuffed animals to action figures. They weren't being good stewards of things that ultimately didn't belong to them, since the truth is that nothing actually belongs to them.

Even more, they were being selfish with Legos. They repeatedly failed to share, and saying things like, "Those are my people." Basically, they were treasuring these Legos over their siblings. As loving parents, we could not let them continue to do this. We are trying to teach them to love people over possessions.

(And you know it's bad when they start manipulating Biblical principles to get what they want. Sender, particularly, likes to grab toys from his siblings while yelling, "It's not yours. It's God's!" I have to remind him that that principle is supposed to remind him to share with others, not to be selfish.)

As I wrote in Teaching Stewardship: Practical Application, we felt it was best to take away their Legos for a time. This act of discipline was not for punitive purposes, but for the goal of change. And not just a change of behavior, but to reach their hearts. If their hearts are broken, sorrowful, and repentant, their attitudes and actions will follow (Luke 6:45).

We explained that we'd remove these toys for an unspecified period of time, until we felt that they could be responsible and generous stewards. We need to make sure that their privileges match up with their level of responsibility.

How's it going? Well, a week later we let them play with the Legos again, but they quickly went back to their selfish ways. Back to the storage bins went the Legos. We'll try again soon and keep talking with them about "considering others as first" (Philippians 2:3).

Or, we'll just hold this bin of toys and re-gift it to them on Christmas.

Have you ever had to take away privileges or possessions from your children? How did it go?

Related Link:


  1. this is a huge deal for your family! we have taken away all kinds of things for time periods/seasons. the hardest part is when it's really a good thing, and helpful to the family or mom, as far as playing together/time to get dinner cooked, etc. it's just another way we try to tell our kids their sin affects not just themselves, but others too.

  2. Yeah, it's big for them. And you're right in that it's hard to take away a good thing. I like your thought that we can use that (even communicating that it hurts us as parents) to talk about how sin affects others. I definitely need to include that as part of the conversation with our kids.

  3. Great parenting! I would expect nothing less from you due to your walk with God. You always have something profound and on the mark to share.

    May the Lord touch the hearts of your children and give them understanding at a deep level of what they are doing. May the Lord give them an amazing love for Him and a hunger for truth, along with the desire and strength to follow the truth.

  4. Another quick thought - when we went through a difficult time with our son my husband took him through a study of Eli. What would happen to not only the kids but mom and dad if we didn't discipline them.

  5. Wanda -- Thanks for that encouragement, and suggestion!