Monday, January 14, 2013

Thoughts On Child Training

Today I went to MOPS. For you hip people without kids, this is not a cleaning supply super store, although that would be an awesome place to visit... do they have those? I think I'm going to check into that! Heaven on earth use to be a shoe store with super cool footwear for kids. (Why yes, I do wear a child's size, what of it?) Since comfort left fashion in the dust, and then tread over it with it's practical cushioned sneakers years ago, heaven on earth is now fabric stores. And now that I think of the concept - a cleaning supply store could be a close second! 

Back to what I was saying before I got super excited about cleaning products... MOPS stands for Mother's Of Preschoolers. 

I have been a part of it since my oldest was born 8 years ago. I really enjoy it. Other than the debilitating intimidation I feel when coming into contact with a female my age, and MOPS is like the super store for females my age, it's pretty fun. Crafts, food, conversation with other MOPS (of the human kind, I only have conversations with my swiffer when it gets too quiet in the house... which is almost never), and often a guest speaker. Over the past 8 years I have heard a lot of MOPS speakers, covering a multitude of topics. Today's topic was childrearing. I use to cringe when I even heard this word from anyone outside of my immediate family. I have such different views from those of most of my generation when it comes to raising kids.
But in my past MOPS meetings those giving the talks seemed to steer clear of that "nasty" word, spanking, and so I did not become tense and irritable the minute today's topic was introduced.

The lady who spoke today was good... well educated, has worked with children for years and really seemed to know her stuff. She had some really good suggestions. From the way she presented things today she seemed to think it was ok if we did not totally agree with her. She claimed herself to not be a purist. She does not believe, nor do I, that there is one formula that works perfectly for anything (with the exception of the Word of God and then our humanness sometimes screws even that up because of our various interpretations of it). So I am just going to come right out and say it, I did not agree with everything our speaker shared today. BUT I learned a lot, both through her and through what God spoke to me as I have thought about the presentation today. 

I am not going to share all of my child rearing thoughts right now, if ever, for several reasons

  1. You might be bored to tears and I really want you to come back and visit me.  
  2. I don't want to offend anyone.
  3. I am not in a fighting mood today and this kind of topic seems to bring that out in people.

One day I may get more brave, or just stop caring what everyone else thinks, and share more. 

I do not, in any way, claim to be an expert in child rearing. If you had ever been in line with me and my four kids at the grocery store there would be no doubt in your mind. But, for the most part I like the way we have disciplined our kids. I am even going to go as far as to say they are pretty great kids. Not perfect, and I am perfectly ok with that. Because now I do not have to sit and bite my nails and wait for them to "mess up". They already have, the cats out of the bag, the jig is up... they are human. But they are pretty awesome little humans. I can count on them to pretty much do what I say when I say it. We don't, for the most part, have temper tantrums or talking back. They are perfectly aware that if these things are attempted it is not going to go well for them. Having said all that I will share with you just a couple of thoughts. Yes, ALL of that build up just for a couple of puny little thoughts.

• I believe that, whatever your form of discipline CONSISTENCY is the key! When I become lazy with the rules and consequences it is so very unfair to my kids. Yesterday it was ok for little Johnny to play in the mud, today I am coming unglued and telling him, "you know better". He may know what the rule is but he certainly isn't clear on what difference it makes. He tested the boundary yesterday and the line seemed pretty weak. They will ALWAYS be testing the boundaries. Don't move them until you are ready for them to be moved. 

• One of the MOPS girls said it today, follow through! I hate it when the words are leaving my mouth. "If you do not do this then we will..." And then it is out there, there is no "control (or command) z", no undo, no take backs. I have set a limit for them. No matter what it may cost me I have to follow through. So be careful what limits you set (though limits are great). So you don't leave yourself "stuck". And then follow, follow, follow through. 

• One I took away from the speaker today. And we can take this right out of the bible too...

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. Proverbs 15:18
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. Proverbs 25:15

Our speaker was giving the example of Suzy Q throwing a fit at the store. As her voice rises, mommy's does too. Her suggestion was, the louder they get, the softer you get. I do not think this is always the best plan of action. I believe kids should be taught to know better than to throw a fit and yell at their parents. I knew better! I remember the days when one look from one of my parents spoke PLENTY! And if we were at home we didn't even get the courtesy of a look. The only thing looking back at us was the closed toilet seat lid as we bent over it for a spanking. However, kids are going to get carried away with their emotions, I am having a heck of a time controlling mine at 32. Yelling at them... never going to settle them down. I can, and I should, remain calm. I should demonstrate what it looks like to them. I can very calmly and quietly send them to "time out". In a perfectly pleasant voice I can remind them of what will happen if they do not settle down. I'm the boss, I do not want there to be any doubt in their mind about this. You don't wonder do you, when you go into work who is calling the shots? But who do you have more respect for - the boss who barks out orders and threats, or the one who leads with quiet gentleness and remains rational?

That's all I have to say, nothing earth shaking... just some thoughts, take 'em or leave 'em.

 P.S. I LOVE comments! I'd love to hear from you!

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