Monday, February 23, 2015

I tried parenting.....Our Family Rules, Consequences, Tips, and Timing to raising successful Godly children.

~I apologize for any typos, if you have a question, comment below.  I also apologize for the length - I tend to be wordy about things I am passionate about. 

Discipline is Latin for 'to teach' or 'pupil.' For us to be semi-successful parents we must discipline.   

I know and have seen several parents who refrain from discipline - because they only see it as punishment or "not loving" 

For us to follow Jesus we must be disciplined in our ways.  For Jesus to teach us we must be disciplined.  We, as parents, are disciplining our children to follow Jesus, so they too must learn how to follow Jesus. 

** Please note:  discipline is to teach - and to teach  about Jesus we must also act like him, be loving, our actions show our hearts.   I do not believe in truly punishing a child.  The action has a reaction in everything we do.   As a teacher and parent  there are lines that can be crossed.  If it is emotionally, physically, spiritually or sexually abusive - THAT IS NOT DISCIPLINE OR OUT OF LOVE. 

1)  Listen and Obey
2)  Be Gentle
3)  Have a good attitude
And we do these because we....LOVE PEOPLE

1) Listen and Obey   - Ephesians 6: 1-3  -   This is my favorite.  It can cover anything. The bottom line is the child must trust that parents wants the best for them.  I will sometimes dialogue with Gideon:   "Do you trust mommy (daddy, grandma, papa)? .......      Do you love mommy (other person)?   ........    Does mommy love you?........ If you trust and love mommy you need to listen and obey so that you can be safe and have fun."      A child wants to please their parents/authority.  A child wants to have structure and rules (it is like a security blanket, the sense that someone cares).   So asking a child to listen and obey reminds them that we love and care about them and their actions.  one of our son's favorite bible stories is Jonah and the big fish - great example of obedience.  One day this will transition well for our child listening and obeying his heavenly father. 

2) Be Gentle - Titus 3:2, James 1:19-20 and Galatians 5:25  - The bible is so full of the word gentle, my mom likes to say being nice.   Being gentle doesn't mean we are door matts and anyone can take advantage of us.  Being gentle is showing others love and compassion, what God calls us to do.  The meak will inherit the earth.    Like listen and obey, this rule can not only cover physical gentleness but other ways to be gentle via words or volume control.

3) Have a good attitude - Hebrews 13:5 and Luke 12:22 - 27 - we started this rule of with be content.  But to a small child content is an abstract idea.  With the word attitude and knows we can see an attitude.  Sometimes he will tell us he has a good attitude by fake smiling and tell him we want to see his real good attitude.    For us to be followers of Christ he asks us to die to ourselves.   Matthew 6:24 talks about serving money and God and how we can only serve one.    Have a good attitude goes a long way when it comes to birthday parties or sharing.    You can not get what you want by throwing a fit is what this boils down to.

We have these rules because we love people - John 13:34-35 - that people will know that we are a Christian by the love we give to each other.    Being content, having a good attitude, being gentle, while we listen and obey are the ways that we have asked our family to show others love. 

When you hear the word consequence you typically think of punishment.  When you hear the word discipline, you think of the word punishment.   A  consequence can be positive and negative.    Every action has a reaction. 

I truly believe that every parent will have to determine what consequences work best for them and their child.

1) Spanking - we are not against spanking.  However around 1.5 our child would hit me if I spanked him (not if daddy spanked him).  He was not learning what rule he broke by not being loving.    We have finally learned that our child does not do well with spanking.  And keep this thought in  your brain - I want to teach my children Gentleness. Most children follow what they see and hear.  If I spank, am I being gentle and loving towards my child?     We now only use spanking as a major consequence.   We will sometimes tap is bottom to get his attention, but tell him, "mommy spanked your bottom because you are not being loving and obeying"
2) Flicking - this really helped us teaching Gideon at a young age.   It's quick and can be used in a variety of areas.  Flick on the hand when they are touching something they shouldn't (trash can, wall outlet, daddy's books).  flick on the cheek for sitting, biting, yelling, etc.   
3) Time outs - there are so many great articles about time  outs.   For our oldest who's very social, making him sit in his room until he has a good attitude and will listen and obey is HUGE - he hates it.  He will come out of his room ready to do what he's been asked and without complaining.   He's almost 3. 
4) We always ask Gideon to say sorry and for what he did, taking ownership.  This has only worked lately as his vocabulary as developed for it. 
5) Constant praise - high fives, fist bumps, hugs, kisses, excitement...... stickers, ALL praise.  It says in the bible to build up one another.  To encourage one another.  I try to praise Gideon any time he is doing something extremely well without being told.   "Thank you for sharing"  if we didn't have to talk about sharing 2 minutes before playing with that friend.    If you over praise for what is already expected, it will no longer feel good for the extraordinary stuff.   Find other ways to praise than "good job"

Successful Tips:
1) Talk to them as adults  -  children understand a lot more than we tend to give them credit.  Make sure it isn't too far above their heads.  A 3 year old does not need to know the whole birds and bees.... but they should know what their private part is called and that it's not a toy.
2) Children are curious - give them the answer to the why without them asking it.  If you flick a child in the hand for touching an outlet and just say "no-no" the will not understand.   Flicking a child's hand and saying "do not touch the outlet for it could hurt you.  I love you and want to keep you safe, that is no-no"  it gives the flick meaning and explanation of why.
3) Allow for children to correct you - anytime my husband and I are not following the rules we try to use it as a teaching moment.  daddy might say, "Gideon, mommy does not have a good attitude, she needs to spend some time alone right now."
4) Forgiveness - in the bible it says that we should ask for forgiveness.  When we repent God does not say "it's okay" he says "do better, but I love you and forgive you."  We must do the same for our children.  When Gideon says sorry we do not say "it's okay" for that gives him permission to do it again.  When he apologizes we tell him "thank you for saying sorry, we forgive you and love you."
5) Don't do for them what they can do for themselves.   We live in a culture where laziness is rapidly increasing.  We want instant gratification.  If a child comes to me with something to do for them I ask them to do it for themselves.  If they continue to struggle I GUIDE THEM  and do not do it for them.  The old parable teach a man to fish is very true. 
6) Don't help them if they can't and shouldn't do it for themselves.  False reality.  This is big for the park.  We have a climber/daring son.  At the park we would watch him, if he asked for help we would tell him that he needs to do it on his own.  Instead of a 1.5 year old thinking he could climb a ladder, but not really, is much better than having a safety accident later on.  We do try to encourage them to their level (instead of ladder, use the stairs to get to the top).  We want independence, but we also want our children to make good choices. 
7) Children are good, not bad.   You will not hear us ever tell our sons they are bad boys.  We are made in the image of God. and God is good.  We as humans make mistakes daily.  Our mistakes might be bad but we are still good.  We will remind Gideon that his choices are good or bad. 

So when did we start doing all of this??
Children will rise to your expectations.  When trained with love a child can surpass your expectations.  I do know all children are different, but there are times when you have to BE THE PARENT AND TAKE CHARGE.   Whether it comes to sleeping habits, breastfeeding, potty training, eating with a fork, cleaning their room..... you have to discipline.   To say that "the child will do _________ when they are ready" does not apply to our family.  We educate ourselves by reading, talking to other parents, consulting their doctors, trial and error, perseverance.    Some children will not do ____________when ready because sometimes the unknown is scary.   Unless you have someone there to disciple you and teach you with love and remove the scariness.  We teach and it's called tough love.    I look at parents who their 30 year old still lives with them.....that is not love, who's the parent?   For a parent to never tell a child no, and have them run in the street..... is that love?  Disciplined love provides reassurance and safety

We started basic discipline with our oldest when he was 6 months old.  He knew his name and was starting to eat solids.  We would flick his hand for touching things he shouldn't.  We have flicked his cheek for spitting foods. 
We started spanking around 1 years of age for major defiance.  But slowly it became only daddy spanked to the  point where we no longer spank unless it's a huge defiance. 

Ask yourself these questions:
Who are you?
What outcomes would you like to see for your family?
Are your expectations too high or too low?
What consequences are you willing to use, positive and negative?

The bible is so full of wonderful scripture.  It is sometimes hard to pick the best versus or the best rules to follow.    Some of my personal favorite books are:   James, Ephesians, Romans and the gospels.  But in every scripture you will find love and obedience (or lack of).   If you struggle as a parent there is no shame in asking for help. 

This blog became much longer than anticipated - please remember that we are not perfect parents.  My child is no where near perfect (but I love him like he is).  Daily I struggle as a Christian, parent, spouse, daughter, teacher, and friend...... but God is perfect and Good and is there through all struggles. 

If you have questions or comments I would love to know or explain in more details.   All of this blog is my opinion and experience as a parent and educator.  I know parents do different things in different cultures, societies, economical classes.    I am in no way trying to discourage you or destroy your beliefs as a parent.  So please, talk to me and keep the communication open. 

Update - Sorry for the wait.

So, obviously I do not get paid to be blogging.  I do it for my own enjoyment.  Maybe one day.   You know, one can dream.

October - At the start of the month Gideon gave us a scare with his tummy.  Over the weekend he would complain about his tummy (he would even cry sometimes)  but the 'spells' would come every hour or so and last just for a bit - like contractions.  Finally, Monday, we took him to see his doctor where he immediately admitted him into the hospital for test.  He had a good idea what it was, but needed monitoring.   He had intussusception (spelling?).  In the course of three days in the hospital. He had visited two different hospitals.  Rode two ambulances.  Flew on one medic airplane.  had 4 x-rays, 1 ultra sound, 2 bariums, little sleep, several chocolate milks and no potty accidents.  As a mother, it broke my heart to watch him in pain and not be able to help him in time of need.  I.... me.... HIS MOTHER..... had to help assist in the first barium ..... held him down.... screaming, tears running down his face.   WOW.  That.  Was.  Difficult.   
On a good note.  He's all better.  Still likes doctors.  

Rest of October - we celebrated fall by going to two different festivals, having a little party of our own, trick-or-treating in my parents neighborhood after a church evening, and found out that I am pregnant!  


November - here came the sickness.  Not like a crazy metal song, but seriously.... this pregnancy has/is rough.  I was very, incredibly nauseous for about the first 16 weeks, I gained 15-20 pounds by the time December came around and was just in an overall funk.  We took some time and drove with our dear friends' Thomas family to go to ICOM, Internal Conference on Missions,   It was a great trip - but could have been better if I was in a better mode/feeling.    Celebrated Thanksgiving with Jeremiah's family where we shared the news about baby 2.   Thankfully my midwife gave me some medicine to help get things under control. 

December - Jeremiah had his play, the living Christmas Tree, that kept him busy followed by his birthday and finals.  We blinked our eyes and had a wonderful Christmas.   The two weeks off from school were so nice - yet, I was so SICK!!  Gideon had a wonderful/simple Christmas and he's getting to be such a big boy. 

January - no snow days!   My second nephew was born, he's adorable and according to Gideon, Abel 'got out of Amanda by stairs'   - if only it could be that easy.    Nothing too special this month.  Just getting back into the routine of work/school for our family. 

February - we found out that our baby is going to be another xy!    Soren Paul Jones is due June 29th!    Gideon  is thrilled to have a baby brother.  At times I was hoping for a girl, but the excitement of getting to share the lives of two boys and raise them to be Godly men is wonderful.    Luckily I haven't been as sick in the second trimester, just trying to slow down my crazy weight gain problem.  For Valentine's day we went to a marriage retreat (asked to go so Jeremiah could lead worship) - it was a nice time/get away for us.  My sister had the privilege of watching Gideon over the weekend........ they still want four kids.  ehhehe.    The following weekend was our first nephew's 2nd birthday.   That night Jeremiah and I watched all three boys. 

God has blessed us:
We continually get to give to sponsor a child of ours in Ethiopia.  
We get to pray and give for a family as they follow God's hear in N. Africa. 
We pray for another couple who are making leaps and bonds for God's kingdom in NYC. 
We have been asked and accepted being apart of our friend's role as they support raise to go to Mexico (a challenge in it's own for we are sad that they will be going, but excited that God has a huge plan to use them). 
We have been blessed to survive and have another day of life. 
We are blessed with our growing family is healthy at this point. 
We are thankful for all of the opportunities and praise Jeremiah has received via his college and the church. 

God = Good: 

Some prayer request/personal struggles.
1) For our marriage  - we are in a good place right now.   At the marriage retreat we heard about this formula  passion + intimacy + commitment = healthy marriage           And I am lacking in the passion department.   Because I'm pregnant, I am exhausted and "ugly" and don't want to do anything.  If you know what I mean.    So trying to keep the passion in our marriage is something I am trying to get better at.  

2) Financial responsibility -  Jeremiah tells me not to worry about money.  Matthew 6:24 to serve  only God and not money.    But I look at that like people who work for greed/money.  I work, because I want to be able to pay/provide for our family and then the better we are at using our money the more we can do for our kingdom financially. 

3) Transitions.  In the next few months Jacob will be moving out.  Soren will be moving in.  Jeremiah will be starting an internship. 

4) Small group - we have started a small group, and it the commitment has been slower than we would like.  Pray for committed families and hearts.  and that Jeremiah can be a good leader. 

5) That I can be healthy in mind, body, and spirit. 

Looking ahead:

March - Gideon turns 3!  His 3rd birthday party.    Spring break (Jeremiah is doing the wilderness adventure and Gideon and I will be going with my mom to Texas to see family).  Doctors appointments, preschool screenings,  getting ready for third trimester with Soren.  

April - school focus.  Easter weekend

May - end of school!  Anniversary! 

June - baby Soren!

July - birthdays and family trip to Florida, flying with a toddler will be fun!