LIFE IN BALANCE-Raising Disciplined Children

“Train up a child in the way e should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”- The Bible

Here are a few tips on raising a well- behaved, disciplined child. Now, because my children are little and I am writing from experience, this will apply more to new parents and parents with pre-school children.

1. Take responsibility. Children are primarily taught by their parents especially in the first few years. No preschool is going to do this for you. You have to decide as a parent that there are only two choices: I will be responsible for my child’s discipline or I will be responsible for my child’s discipline.

2.Be realistic. Active disciplining of a child cannot really start before 9 months of age. Prior to that, however, routines should be created so that a child knows what to expect.

3.Be consistent. The Bible says, let your yes, be yes and your no, be no. This applies to child rearing. Something your child does cannot be right today and wrong tomorrow. Do not discipline a child depending on your mood. This creates a confused child. If she pulls the dog’s tail, don’t “time-out” her for it today and laugh about it tomorrow.

4. Be clear. If the consequence for hitting sister is a five minute time out, let your child know that. After a discipline, remind your child what he/she did and why such-and-such discipline was applied. Be concise. Children at that young age do not need a lecture on the original sin of man( 🙂 ).

5. Be disciplined.Be godly. Be disciplined yourself. Be law abiding. Be punctual. Keep your word. Keep your temper. Watch your mouth. Model the types of behavior you expect from your children. If you have a potty mouth, your child will too. If you are friendly your child will probably be too. In case you haven’t noticed, they pick up on your bad behavior more readily than the good behavior.

6. Be age appropriate in your expectations.There are certain behaviors expected from children of certain ages. Bring your child up to speed. A nine month old is expected to cry when sleepy, a five year old is not. A two year old is expected to throw tantrums a four year old is not. A one year old is expected to go “pee-pee” on himself a five year old is not. A three month old can be rocked to sleep, a nine month old should not. A three year old will get messy when they eat, that is not a discipline issue. One of my friends, Popee said to me, “We sometimes expect our children to know things that it took us twenty years to learn”. That gave me something to ponder.

7. Be verbal. Talk to your small children even when it is not an active “disciplining moment” and let them know what your expectations are. For instance while potty training my one year old, I used to tell her,”Big girls go pee-pee in the potty, not in the diaper”. Children usually understand more than we give them credit for. You have to tell them what to do! Do not assume that they know. If you want your child to sit down and not jump around screaming, please, by all means, tell them so. If you want them not to poke a hole in the frosting of the cake, tell them.

8. Be firm. You are the parent. Do not let your child wrest control from you. Do not think, they are too small, they don’t know what they are doing or- here s a favorite one of mine-if I do such-and-such, they will cry. Oh please!!! Get some backbone and do not be wishy-washy! No candy after six pm means no candy after six pm, no matter how much they cry. They will soon get the message.

9. Boundaries. Everyone has to learn at some point that there are things you can do, and there are things you cannot do. It is better for them to learn it now than learn it in a penitentiary. For example it does not matter how angry you are, you cannot hit mommy. I am astounded whenever I see two to three year old children in shopping carts hitting their mom because she said no to them picking up something. How ever did they get it into their heads that that was even an option to consider?! Once I heard a two year old boy say “shut up” to his mother. Guess what? Instead of dealing with the behavior she said, “oh he doesn’t know what he is doing”. I was shocked to my very core! If at the age of six he calls his mom the b-word should we be surprised?

10. Be loving. Do not treat your children with disdain,impatience or disrespect. Children have to know that you love them, no matter what the present situation is. It doesn’t matter if you have to give them ten time-outs in a day. Do not nag them or constantly go on and on about what they did or did not do. Relate with them on their level. Be nice and kind to them. Don’t just feed them, clothe them and send them on their way. Reach out to them, reward good behavior, treat them without partiality, be fair to them. Tell them you love them on a DAILY basis( even when they are grown). Manage your expectations.

Well, friends, hope this helps someone, have a great time with those little angels.

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RAISING A GENIUS- Helping your child exercise their learning potential- part 2

Continuing from part 1:

4. Every opportunity is a teaching opportunity: Learning is not only limited to a classroom. “What shape is a stop sign?” I asked my daughter when she was 4. “Octagon”, came the reply. How did she know that? I had told her previously. Sometimes people ask me, “How do your children know this?” I teach them. I taught my 2 year old how to use a mouse. My husband taught our older daughter how to spell her name when she was three. On long drives we count all the way to 100, learn songs, recite ABCs and do mini “spelling bees”. We got a bean once and planted it in an old flower pot to see how things grow. It is not hard to teach children in a way that encourages a love of learning.

5. Encourage thinking outside the box: Encourage critical thinking. Ask questions and encourage them to ask questions too. When they stray off the beaten path ask yourself, is what they are doing unsafe for them or others? Is it destructive? Is it just wrong? If not, it’s ok to get dirty, it’s ok to tear up styrofoam, it’s ok to mix two colors of playdoh; it’s ok to color outside the lines; it’s ok to write in “robot letters”; it’s ok to put “Sharpie””make-up” on the doll’s face.

6. Study your children and follow your instincts: Some types of schooling work better for certain children. Some children learn more at daycare/ nursery than at home. Some are better off taught at home before the compulsory school years. Some children thrive in Montessori schools( I know mine wouldn’t). Some children need more structure( mine does). Some children are visual learners, some prefer to hear things recited. Use tools that appeal to your child the most. Do not bother about doing what everyone else is doing. You may choose public school, Christian schools, private schools, homeschooling. The point is if none of the schooling methods are wrong, you are free to choose what sits right with you.

7. Relax: Every child learns at their own pace. If your two year old is not reading yet, it’s ok! Work with them where they are. One thing which works for me is to remember that God gave me my children, but He also gave me to them! I realize that I have what it takes to help them reach their potential and ultimately fulfill their purpose.

RAISING A GENIUS- Helping your children exercise their learning potential

This is really not about geniuses at all, but about helping your little one be all they can be and develop a lifelong love for learning. Babies are not dumb little creatures, they are capable of absorbing vast amounts of information with ease. These tips apply mainly to babies and preschoolers, although there are applications in older children too.

1. Start early: Talk to your baby while he is in the womb. Sing to your baby, start reading to them before they are one year old. Do not talk to them in “baby talk” and it is ok to use so-called big words. If you speak two languages in your home speak them both to your child. As early as six months of age, start to name the parts of the body( except privates) during baby’s bath. Before the age of one get plastic ABCs( lower case) and show them to your baby, naming the letters. This should not be done as a task, but as part of play.

2. Exalt character above being smart: There is no use being a smart jerk. If your child grows up being rude and uncouth, because being smart was exalted above good character, you will be the loser. There are so many smart people who are arrogant. This is sad really. They have book smart, but no one ever trained them to be a good human being!

3. Read, read, read: Read to them! Read books yourself. Children mirror the behavior they see. Readers are learners and learning means growth. Read to your six month old. Read to your six year old. Buy interesting books. Read them the Bible. Apart from learning how to live a godly life, they will learn some big words too! 🙂 Start with reading the alphabet then graduate to books above your child’s so called reading grade. Remember this should be fun. Do not make a task of it or they will lose interest. If they don’t feel like reading a book one day it is ok and it won’t affect their chances of getting into Harvard later.

Watch out for the concluding segment

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LIFE IN BALANCE- Modeling

LIFE IN BALANCE- Modeling.

LIFE IN BALANCE- Modeling

Modeling?
Just stay with me.
Modeling is the act of representing something or the representation of something. To model is to create a representation or model of.
Are you still there?
Good.
Now, modeling, when it comes to parenting is the art of presenting to your children those behaviors, habits and deeds that you want them to take up.
A good number of people do not realize how important it is to be the person you want your children to be. The Bible says everything produces after its own kind. Even your hidden traits are likely to come out in your children. Praying for your children is a must, and discipline cannot be overemphasized. As parents, however we have a duty to behave in front of our children.

Do you cuss and swear and expect your children not to do so? Do you smoke like a chimney and think they will not become a smoker just because you said so? Do you bully and beat your spouse and expect your child not to be the schoolroom terror? Do you spend all day watching TV then turn around and call your child lazy? Are you rude to everyone and wonder why your child has a “sass-mouth”?

There are enough challenges out in the world for children, they do not need to have poor examples at home too. Granted, no family is perfect and we all need work. This piece is not meant to condemn anyone but to encourage you to make the necessary changes, your child’s future may depend on it.

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Receive the Kingdom as a child

Truly I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] shall not in any way enter it [at all]. (Luke 18:17 AMP)

In what way does God expect us to be like a child?What do children do? When the Bible compares us to things,it is a good idea to find out the characteristics of those things and draw parallels from them.

1.Receive joyfully: Have you ever given a child something they like? They take it with joy, they do not wonder wether they “deserve it”. They do not try to be worthy of it, they just take it and play with it or wear it or eat it( depending on what it is). God wants us to receive His blessing happily without wondering weather we deserve it or not.

2.No condemnation: Let’s say you were to chastise your child about something, then send them out to go play or give them their dinner. What would they do? Move on! They would not hang around looking sad, trying to “make up” for what they did. “Oh mom, I need to do more chores to make for my bad behavior”. God wants us to accept his forgiveness once we repent and not keep dredging up the past.

3.Like to play: Children love to play! Learning to enjoy everyday life is not about shirking your responsibilities, it’s about loosening up and enjoying the journey. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to play. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly”. That sounds like a happy life to me!

4.Like to laugh: Children laugh. They laugh, and they laugh. Sometimes you just have to find something to laugh about. Laughter is indeed the best medicine.

5 Curious: Children want to know and want to learn. Most of the time, their curiosity is almost tangible. If we don’t learn we don’t grow and if we stop growing, we start dying. God wants us to be teachable and to keep learning more about Him. Let us not think that we know it all.

6. Expect parents to take care of them: Children expect their parents to take care of them, in fact, the average little child expects its parents to be able to cough up its demands at a moments notice. God expects us to trust that He will take care of us.

7.Think that parents can do anything, have absolute faith in parents: In line with point 6 above children think their parents are all-powerful. God is all powerful and can do anything. He deserves our unwavering trust.

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Building Confident Children

1. Do not belittle your children.

2. Say positive things to them.

3. Refrain from negativity.

4. Be confident yourself.

5. Do not raise them with paranoia.

6. Ground them in your core values.

7. Do not use fear as a tool.

8. Encourage self expression but not misbehavior.

9. Have boundaries and fair discipline.

10. Pray for them and confess the Word over them.

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