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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Think Big, Start Small, Act Now! Part 2

Continued from yesterday…..

1.Have a vision: Where do you see yourself in 12 months time, 2 years time, 5 years time. You cannot get what you cannot conceive.

2.Get organized: Decide what it is you want to do and develop a plan to pursue it.

3.Associations: Get to know people like you who are going where you are going; people who are in the process of doing what you are trying to do.

4.Mentors: Get to know people who have gone before you and already accomplished what you are trying to accomplish. Mentors can help ground you.

5.Dream killers: Avoid these people like the plague. These are the ones who will give you 1001 reasons why an idea would not work. Hang out with forward thinking people who will encourage you to be your best.

6:Excellence: Start small does not mean start mediocre. Develop excellence in the execution of your projects , no matter how little they are.

7.Fear not: Fight against fear like you would fight against a mortal enemy. Fear paralyzes, fear is a dream killer.

8. Keep learning: There is always more to learn on the journey to where you are going. There is no “arrival” far as developing yourself is concerned.

9. Relevant information: If you want to go to medical school why are you pursuing a degree in economics? You get the picture.

10.Sacrifice:Prepare to sacrifice money, time,sleep, relationships(see 5. above) in order to achieve your dream.

 

 

Hey I’m The Parent: Part 2

                                         In “Hey I’m The Parent: Part 1” we dealt with being: fun, consistent, an example for your children to follow; and being “the parent”.Here we focus on being loving, being there for your children and showing pride in the things that they do.

5.Be loving:You love your children,tell them so!Yes, tell them everyday and in different ways,whether they have done well that day or not.Tell them, no matter how old they are,they will not get tired of hearing it.Needless to say, loving words have to accompany loving actions.Do not be abusive towards your children, do not punish them harshly, and let any punishment for wrong doing fit the crime and age of the child.Do not belittle them,call them names or embarrass them in public.Do not rant at them in endless tirades.Is this hard to do? Not really.

6. Be there: I do not necessarily believe in the entity called “quality time”.The benefits of spending time with your children are in the amount of time you spend with them as well as the things you do in that time, not one or the other.For instance is it better to spend fifteen minutes reading a book to your little child, or spend one hour just hanging out? Answer: one hour just hanging out. If someone were to give you a 1 cm square cube of delicious filet mignon for dinner and tell you it is a “quality steak” what would you say? Of course, you would want a much larger piece of delicious steak.The Bible says, if anyone lack wisdom let him ask of the Lord who gives liberally and does not scold you for asking(I paraphrase).Pray for wisdom from God to manage your time effectively so that your children do not suffer.

7.Be proud:Applaud their achievements!Be your child’s biggest encourager.Everyone has something worth celebrating,be it academic achievements,sports;kindness shown to another person;a personal sacrifice of time, money or possessions; a piano recital; a drawing;a political position; a new job; being a helper; getting into college…….you get the picture.The point I am trying to make is that every child at whatever age yearns for his parents pride and approval.In this day and age of competition,it is important to focus on your children’s achievements and not compare them to other children(not even siblings) in your thoughts or words.

               Well, children are gifts from God, the Bible says.The Bible also states that the blessing of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow. Children are part of the blessing because the Bible calls blessed, the man who has his quiver full of them.Enjoy your children and enjoy your life with them.  

 

Hey, I’m the parent! Part 1

                                   Children…what would we do without them?Yet there are times when it is so easy to get bogged down by little details and not see the big picture in terms of doing the right thing by our kids. This is by no mean a thesis on child rearing, and everyday I learn something new, something insightful to help my children navigate the path to adulthood. Here are a few tips.

1.Be consistent:In  consistency lies the power…..the power to create change.Be consistent with setting boundaries for your children when they are little so that it becomes a pattern when they are older.Do not changes your rules to suit different situations.If the rule is bedtime at 9,by all means keep bedtime at 9.If the rule is no sugary drinks after 6 pm, try to stick to it.If the punishment for lying is removal of privileges,let it remain so.That does not mean you should not be flexible(Come on, do you have to enforce the no sugar after 6pm at Grandmas once a year thanksgiving party?),but overall your children should be able to tell within reason what the consequences of their actions might be.

2.Be fun:It is important to have fun with your children.Smaller children are easier to please,a two year old will have fun popping bubbles while you blow them!As children get older, it is important to find out what would be fun for them, not what you think would make them feel happy.Fun times create happy memories for children.As an adult are your fondest memories those of being told off as a child?Of course not.There are certainly times to be busy and serious and even stern,but do not make your child’s life ALL about that.

3.Be an example:Do you use cuss words?Do you say please and thank you?Do you overreact?Do you talk a lot?Do you snap at people?Are you moody?Do you like to read books?Are you outdoorsy?Do you laugh a lot?Are you hospitable and welcoming or shy and retiring?What you do not want your children to do tomorrow,do not do in front of them today.As a parent you have to model the type of behaviour you want to see in your child.What about friends?What about school?They do not train your children, you the parent have to consistently be the person you want your child to be.Do not call your child names and expect him not to have a dirty mouth.Do not gossip about your friends in front of him and expect him to grow up liking people. It is not going to happen! The Bible says you reap what you sow.

4.Be the parent:Ah yes!Parenting is not a popularity contest.It sometimes requires you to take tough decision for your children’s sake and stick to them.It may mean no candy and sugary drinks for some and it may mean 7pm cufew for others;or not hanging out with a particular friend.Yet again it may mean being forced to miss a meal because little Johnny just keeps forgetting to take his lunch to school with him.Do you want your childen to like you so much that you do not discipline them?Beware,you are sowing the wind and the resulting whirlwind you may reap could have devastating consequences.Working mothers, beware of trying to cover up “working mother’s guilt” by letting kids do whatever they like because,”I don’t see her often enough so I’m not going to spend what little time we have together telling her off”.Really?

Watch this space for the second part of “Hey I’m the parent!”

 

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