Another favorite Thanksgiving book! While we listen to and read audios about the first Thanksgiving (an Odyssey one is playing right now as I write this!), I am one who loves whimsical, funny, clever stories, including Thanksgiving ones. That is why I love the book described below. It is incredibly creative and clever—and catches kids (and adults) off guard when Mrs. Moose simply wants to invite Turkey to lunch—not eat him for lunch!
We wanted our children to ask questions–and lots of them! We wanted to be their answerer as much as possible. Thus, we “trained” them to ask questions–by answering them freely and endlessly.
Ray is the best answerer I have ever met (honest!). He is the one who made me come up with the little acronym that we teach at our parenting seminars. I have watched him day in and day out, year in and year out, answer a question. Then he paused and continued on with more answers and more answers and more answers.
“When a child is allowed to do absolutely as he pleases, it will not be long until nothing pleases him” (Anonymous).
One of our favorite Preventive Parenting tips is that of becoming a problem solver. As parents, we can complain that we do not like how something is going or how our children are behaving–or we can decide to solve the problem at hand.
We have found that many things that seem insurmountable–getting kids up and around on time in the mornings without too much stress, having the evening meal on the table at a certain time, and being sure that our kids are reading a lot–are easily taken care of when we decide to solve the problem–rather than just complaining about it or wishing that things were not as they are.
Let me give you some real life scenarios that I have recommended or heard of lately to get your “thinking skills” and “problem solving strategies” working:
1. Kids up running around in the morning, getting into things, etc., before Mom has had a chance to get herself ready–and prepare for their rising!
Make a “nobody up until you are told you can get up” rule. Our preschoolers were not allowed to get up whenever the pleased.
Just like they had to go to bed at a certain time, they also were not permitted to get up at random times. We had tape players in their bedrooms with radio dramas and talking books available–and also had them put their favorite books on their headboards. They were allowed to read or listen to tapes in the mornings, but they had to wait for me to get them up before they got out of bed.
2. Kids outgrowing their naps but fighting with each other when Mom and other littles are trying to rest.
We can come out and referee fights, yell at our kids for waking the baby, etc,. or we can make a quiet hour–a time in which only quiet activities are allowed. For us, these quiet activities were in a tub marked Quiet Hour–and were items that did not need any assistance to use.
In the case of fighting after outgrowing naps, the two who are fighting must have Quiet Hour in separate rooms–and if Quiet Hour is violated, it’s back to naps for them.
3. Kids not ready in the morning on time, stress and fighting, etc.
Implement morning routines–a set list of things that each child does from rising times until breakfast, or whatever the end of morning routine time holds. Figure up the amount of time needed to get those things done, subtract that from leaving or ready for school time–and make that time the Morning Routine time. (Read more about morning routines here.)
The point of this post is that so many things that cause us stress, fights, poor relationships, nagging, etc. can be handled through problem solving–proactive parenting–parenting in a way that we prevent those times, as opposed to always putting out fires because we did not prevent them to begin with.
Proactive Parenting provides a much more peaceful environment in our homes. It allows us to work on the discipline issues that are really crucial–and to ward off punishment, etc., for situations that can be handled ahead of time, rather than in the heat of the moment.
As an added bonus, Proactive Parenting teaches our kids how to solve problems, come up with options, get a handle on things before they become too big, etc., as they watch us model these skills for them.
|Speaking about “Building Study Skills and Comprehension” at a conference|
There are many aspects of teaching a child how to learn, one of which is working to increase our children’s comprehension. When people have good comprehension, they can learn anything, anywhere, anytime.
It has been important to us in our child training that we understand (or at least try to understand!) the difference between foolishness (willfulness) and childishness (underdeveloped character). The differences between these two types of behaviors in children are crucial in disciplining properly. This is truly one of the biggest mistakes that we see parents make. For example:
(1) A child who spilled his milk at the table is disciplined in the same manner as he was earlier in the day when he struck his brother
(2) A child who forgot to shut the door and the dog got in the house is disciplined in the same manner as he was when he talked back to his mother
(3) A child who didn’t thoroughly clean his room is disciplined in the same manner as he was earlier when he lied to his dad about using one of this tools
In our child training, Ray and I have tried to determine whether a behavior was rebellion against us (as in outright disobedience or disrespect) or childishness (as in forgetfulness, procrastination, sloppiness, etc.):
a. Undeveloped or underdeveloped character
b. Forgetfulness, procrastination, irresponsibility, etc.
c. May turn into “foolishness” if left unattended
We do this because disobedience requires biblical discipline whereas childishness requires the second aspect of child training we have used: reality discipline (or consequences).
I like what an attendee at a recent seminar told us that she heard about this topic: Punishment is only for the Four D’s:
1. Disobedience (i.e. not forgetfulness or overlooking routine at first)
2. Disrespect (i.e. direct disrespect to parents or those in authority–not disagreeing with you respectfully or having their own thoughts!)
3. Deceit (lying, stealing, telling half truths, etc.)
4. Destruction (purposely hurting things or people)
Which Behavior Is This?
Discerning between disobedience and childishness can be so difficult! Even after nearly thirty-one years of parenting, Ray and I still continuously ask each other which behavior a child is displaying.
Difficult or not, we must do it. The Bible says that we are not to exasperate our children. Two sure ways to exasperate them are to punish incorrectly, as in anger, etc., and to punish something as disobedience, when we should be training through consequences.
All parents are faced with this. A child dawdles when we call him to come get ready for bed, and we wonder whether this is just childishness or if it is real disobedience. When our son leaves the dog out of the kennel for the third night in a row, and the pooch potties on the new carpet, we ask ourselves if our little guy is disobeying or forgetting.
In a nutshell , if a child is disobedient, disrespectful, or rebellious, we have a heart issue—and a serious discipline problem that needs handled in a serious manner—and quickly. That is, the Four D’s need punishment/chastisement, not consequences or reality discipline.
If a child is forgetful, slow, unreliable, etc. (especially a younger child), it is usually childishness—and we can “train” that undeveloped or underdeveloped childishness out of a child through consequences and reality discipline.
Besides disciplining these two types of behaviors correctly, we also need to watch our response to these behaviors. Simply put, not putting the hose back in the garage after the child watered the garden should not be met with the same response by the parent as lying about putting the hose back in the garage!
It is like responding to a child’s red streak in her hair in the same way as we do if that child uses God’s name in vain. There is simply no comparison. And the same should be true in our response to childishness vs one of the Four D’s.
For more information on this, please check out Discipline at our blog–or host a Raising Kids With Character seminar in your church or parenting group or homeschooling group. (Our RKWC seminar is a Christian parenting seminar for all Christian parents as opposed to our homeschooling workshops that we do for homeschool groups. All parents, homeschooling or not, can benefit from Raising Kids With Character!)