Friday, October 16, 2009

Picture Perfect Children

Many adults enter parenthood with visions of "picture perfect" children. They imagine a warm and loving home, as well as respectful and polite kids, all eagerly doing whatever is asked with only an occasional explanation from Mom or Dad. As a veteran parent, you know this is not reality. But many parents have the idea that kids are just smaller versions of adults: reasonable and unselfish. This is the "Little Adult Assumption." Moms and Dads who embrace this myth often prefer the "modern method" of discipline-talking and reasoning. Unfortunately, many times words and reasons alone prove unsuccessful. Sometimes they have no impact at all, and then parent and child fall into the trap known as the Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit Syndrome.

This tragic sequence results from the very best of parental intentions. Your child is doing something you don't like. You tell them to stop. She continues their misbehavior, so you try persuading them to see things your way. When persuasion fails, you start arguing. When arguing is not successful, you yell. Yelling fails, so – feeling there is nothing left to do – some parents turn to hitting. The two biggest parenting mistakes – too much talking and too much emotion – trigger the Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit Syndrome.

Getting your child to go to bed by themselves:

Leave the room with the door open and sit in the hall or somewhere that your child can see you. If he/she gets up walk them back to their bed without saying a word, you may have to do this twenty times, just be patient. If he/she cries simply ignore them, but stay where they can see you. It will take a few nights before your child will probably stay in bed and go to sleep, but if you are consistent they will soon realize there is no point to getting up, he will just get wordless lead back to bed.

When this is working well, go through the bedtime routine and leave the room and close the door. Your child will probably cry the most at this step, although some take this without any worry at all. If your child comes out of their room wordlessly walk them back to bed and shut the door. If he/she just cries or is too little to get out of bed and open the door, after five minutes go back into the room and give them a kiss and leave again. This will let them know you didn’t leave them and it’s no big deal to have the door closed, you are right outside it. If he/she wakes up in the middle of the night and comes out just walk them back in and put them back in bed or go in and give them a kiss and then leave. After a few nights your little one will be putting themselves to sleep and will feel safe knowing that you are still there. Goal accomplished.

Take Care of Yourself First!

If remaining calm, patient and gentle is most often a struggle for you, perhaps your life needs a little work. It’s very hard to be a good parent if you don’t take good care of yourself first! Make a schedule for your time at home, just as you do for your time at work. Allocate time for chores, children, and yourself. Perhaps the time may be just two or three days a week where you allocate an hour or so just for yourself.

Discipline: Originally meant to teach or train.

Learning: Is a lifelong process.

Organize: Synonym: Order

I have often heard the expression "Children are a gift from God." We are all gifts of God. He gave us to this world to make it a better place, a physical extension of His glory. Children are entrusted to us by God.

Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them,
"Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me."

Mark 9:36-37

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