The Power of Words

Along with naming your child and carrying an uplifting
vision for their future we have to lay the ground work with the words that we
speak. Teachable parenting means cultivating a loving and respectful
environment in our homes and it is made manifest through the things we say.
Words are powerful. We know this right? Proverbs 18:21  says that the power of Life and death are in
the tongue.  Ephesians 4:29, Let no
corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only that which is good for building
up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Or Matthew 15:18 What comes from the mouth proceeds from the heart and defiles a man. 
Back to quoting Danny Silk from Loving Our Kids on Purpose
he says “ Our job is to create a steady steam of life-giving words into our
children’s lives. When we learn to look at our children and see their potential
and destinies in God, and learn to release the power of life through our words we
become a channel for God to broadcast his heart and His grace to them.”  I love the example he gives when his son was
in 2nd grade (probably around the same age as my son) and he was
getting into some trouble at school (kind of like my son has) and the school called the mother about the issue. I am sure she was ready to tear into him, but before she
went to pick him up she said to herself 
Here we go. My words are spirit
and life. I carry vision for my son. I carry it in my heart. I carry
what it is that I want him to have
and when she addressed him that day she did so without attacking him with harsh words. I don’t want to over spiritualize this topic and make it sound like our words carry that much weight, but well, it’s in the Bible so I don’t know how else to present it. Our words have impact.  
it can be a struggle when you see your children misbehaving not to call them
names like “bad boy” “brat” or “selfish”. Teachable Parenting holds kids
responsible for their actions, but what they do as children does not define who
God says that they are. The book Wild Things suggests naming the behavior
instead. You do this by saying things like “that’s destructive” or “talking
that way is disrespectful”. It communicates  in a way that is short firm, and measured
rather than belittling or personally attacking. 
I don’t want to bombard my children with words that accuse them of being bad
because if they hear it enough they are going to believe that is what they are.
Again, this excerpt from Wild Things is
geared to boys, but I think you will quickly see how it can be adapted to apply
to girls as well. “By disciplining boys in ways that do not shame them, we
honor their desire for strength, reinforce their sensitivity, and encourage
them toward valor. If our boys are to stand a fair chance at life, they need to
enter manhood believing that they are good men. If they don’t, they will be
staring out behind the eight ball.”

So anyway, I am feeling convicted! Today my challenge is to cover my children with words that strengthen,
encourage and change the atmosphere! I’m ready for a change.

 This is day 28 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 28th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|8 Comments

See Him. Name Him. Draw Him Out.

Yesterday I talked about having a vision for our children. For me a big part of this process was revealed to me through the book Wild Things. They gave three key actions that lead you to a child’s heart. 
The first one was to see them.

To see a child is to know how they are uniquely made. To get
know their heart and personality, the good and the bad. 
The second one was to name them.
To name them is to
declare truth about them, to them, and for them, (like we talked about
Then lastly, to draw them out.
This means to challenge, invite, coax, and direct your
child toward and authentic lifestyle of integrity and intimate relationships
with himself, others, and with God.
 I heard a sermon recently about Matthew 13:44 where Jesus tells the parable about the
hidden treasure. The pastor expounded on this parable by encouraging us to see the treasure in others. Let’s review the passage.
 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that
a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold
everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”
 I am reminded that in Luke 17:21 that the
Kingdom of God is also within us. We can see glimpses of the Kingdom of God
through our children everyday. If we apply this parable to the idea of having a vision for our children then we can dig even further into Mathew 13:44. 
1. To “see them” is to
discover  the field
2. To “name them” is to actually make the investment and
buy the field. We are saying of our children, others may just see the field or a crazy rambunctious child, but I see
the treasure and I am willing to give up everything for this vision. 
3. To “draw them
out” is taking on the field and protecting that treasure! You hide these words and that vision in your heart just as the man hid the treasure in the field. You are agreeing to
take ownership of the land, the weeds,
the labor, maintenance, and the dirt. All of it! Again, Teachable Parenting is taking on the mistakes, the emotions, and the growing pains that come along with the process all because you see the value
in that treasure. You have a vision.

It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s worth it. It is so rewarding isn’t it? Today I want you to focus on seeing, knowing, and drawing out your child. Really pray about it and consider what this means for your relationship with your children. Tomorrow we will talk about how to declare these truths by the words of our mouth. It’s a biggie!

Today is day 27 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.
By | October 27th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|5 Comments

Vision For Our Children

When we lived in Texas we were part of ministry that reached
out to “edgier” teens and young people through a coffee shop and music venue.
One night some girls showed up in in clothing that rivaled a street walker’s
uniform.  What little they were wearing was super tight and/or see
through. It didn’t really bother me that they were dressed that way. I mean, these are the people we were reaching out to afterall, the ones that were
rejected by other church environments. It did make me wonder though how it got
to be that way for them. I know for a fact most of these kids are from really
awful home enviroments. In that moment though I wondered if my daughter would
ever dress that way, even though she was chubby little baby at the time my mind flashed ahead to this vision
of her as a teenager trying to leave the house in something scandalous and me forbidding her
to and her yelling you can’t make me, and then taking off slamming the door behind her. It was an ugly picture. I turned to my friend next me and said, do you ever
worry that your kids are going to choose the wrong path? That your daughter
might dress like a hooker or that your son might do drugs?
She looked at me and
with all seriousness she replied NO. The thing I worry about is that I know my
children are called to ministry. I just know that God’s leading them somewhere
to do big things, and it will be so hard to say goodbye.
I was stunned. It wasn’t this holier than thou comment, she
meant it and I suddenly I felt jelous of her vision. The thoughts and words she
had for her children’s future looked so much better than mine. Even if she was
saying should would be sad about it, I know she would be proud and honored to
send them out to do kingdom work. I knew then I needed to get a better projection for my
chlldren. I know God’s plans for them are not that of destruction, so why would
I buy into the fear of the enemy like that?    

She will probably kill me for posting this, but it was too perfect to illustrate my point. Crystal is at the wheel ready to take on the world while I am frantically trying to hold on to the children. We have 7 kids between us and we were both pregnant in this shot. 

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t this major concern that I had,
but the thought did cross my mind. The biggest stumbling blocks I have found as I journey
to be a godly parent is fear and doubt.  I
could focus on the worst case scenario and live in fear or I could call out God’s
promises over my children and do as philippians 4:8, focusing on things that
are excellent and worthy of praise.
What is the vision that you have for your child’s future? In
the book Wild Things it says “Having a vision helps us to structure a boy’s
life according to it’s design. When we have a vision of who they are, and who
they are becoming, we can engage with them and lead them toward the path they
are to follow in their lives. The vision we hold for our children becomes the
compass that keeps them on track.”

This is the final week for Teachable parenting. As I close out this series I want us be seeking the Lord to give us vision for our children. Then over the next couple days I will be sharing about drawing it out. Even with only 5 days left I am just as excited as when I started to see what is in store! 

This is day 25 of a 31 day series. For more Teachable Parenting click HERE

By | October 26th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Rites of Passage

For the
record my children are ages 7, 4, and 2. I know this series hasn’t gone too deep into
parenting the tween years and up because I have zero experience with that age
group, but for
today’s topic I’m looking ahead a little into the unknown as I discuss Rites of
Passage. These milestones can certainly happen at all walks of life, but the
ones I am focusing on are more around the adolescent years. The book Wild Things has an entire chapter dedicated to Rituals, Ceremonies, and Rites of
Passage and puts a great deal of  importance on marking significant moments
and transitions into manhood, or in the case that I am about share
My niece (in-law) has a beautiful story about a symbolic ring she got for a significant milestone.
I happen to love romantic stories and proposals, so I asked her if I could share
hers and she agreed. She received a purity ring from her parents shortly after
8th grade. The idea was to wear it on her left ring finger until the day she was engaged. Well, it wasn’t too long after she began college that she found the man she
wanted to spend the rest of her life with. When their one year anniversary
as a couple was approaching he began making an elaborate scheme to catch her off guard.
He told her months beforehand that he would be on a mission trip during their one year anniversary. So she knew well in advance not to expect anything around that time. However, on the day they hit the one year mark, a friend of hers gave her a
letter from her soon to be fiancé and told her that he wanted it to be special
even though he couldn’t be there. The note led her to a Lighthouse that they
had previously visited together. When she arrived at the Lighthouse she found
candles, bridal magazines, and white Gerber daises along with another note
instructing her to remove the purity ring (in preparation for the engagement
ring). She still assumed he was out of the country and had no idea when the ring would be coming, but when she followed the
instructions she turned around and there he was down on one knee
asking for her hand in marriage! How sweet is that? She actually had her
sterling silver purity ring melted down and put into the band of his custom
titanium ring. 
These are the actual rings.

They have been married for 5 years now and have a beautiful 1-year-old daughter.
reason I share this story is because her parents cared enough to acknowledge
that she had become a women. They gave her a tangible and valuable gift to
signify this, and she in turn was able to take ownership of that in a spiritual
way and in this case literally turned the ring over to her husband to be melted
into his. What a beautiful picture of God’s design for family! The man shall
leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The two shall become one
flesh. They are no longer two, but one.
This is a photo of my niece and nephew on their wedding day.

I think the purity ring for girls is somewhat common in Christian
communities, whereas boys often get overlooked. You will find throughout history, and even now in other cultures, there is great value placed on rites of passage. Unfortunately this is not the case in our Western culture. In the book Wild
it explains how these days driver’s licenses and sports trophies are
about as close as it comes to having a significant marking to manhood. The
trouble is “If we don’t create rites of passage for our boys, they will
find their own. If we don’t mark their passage into the fellowship of men, they
will create experiences that make them feel like the men they long to become. A
rite of passage for a boy can be anything from smoking pot to sleeping with a
girl. For many boys, life will eventually initiate them, but it is often too
late or too imperceptible to have any real meaning.”
There are so many ideas and options when it comes to what an initiation can look like. I won’t get into all that right now, but I do want to highlight one rite of passage in particular that I will never forget. It was a grand sweet sixteen birthday for a pastor friend of mine’s daughter and I was hired to do the photography. At this event the
father gave his daughter a ring just like the one mentioned in the first story with my niece.
He gave a speech that the ring was symbolic of her covenant with God and her
promise to commit her heart and her life to Him only. It was a symbol that she
was to remain pure and consecrated and not be distracted by the world and the
lies of the enemy as she enters into a new season of independence. 
I don’t
remember the exact wording of the speech I just remember one part that stuck
out to me and brought me to tears. The father went on to say to his daughter
ring isn’t just a symbol of your commitment to God, but it is also promise of
my commitment to you. And that is if you ever find yourself in the wrong
place, if you go down a path that you know you shouldn’t have taken, I will be
right here for you. My love will never leave you no matter what. There is
nothing that will break that covenant and you can always come to me anytime. 

WOW. That’s
it! That’s the new covenant. That’s grace. That is the heart of Teachable Parenting.
 I can’t be the
perfect parent, but even if I could, at the end of the day I can’t control them
and they will have to be able to stand and fall with their own two feet. Even
then I can say, “I love you my child. I will never stop and no matter what I will never give up the fight to be connected to your heart” because that is the Father’s love for us. Thank you Lord. 
This is day 25 of a 31 day series. For the rest of teachable parenting click HERE.
By | October 25th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|7 Comments

Chores and Money

Along with computer science and foreign language, finance is one of the unconventional elementary education subjects that I feel is overlooked and/or introduced far too late. I was raised by parents that would confess to making just about every financial mistake you can think of until they discovered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University 12 years ago and completely changed their lives around. They were the ones that bought the Financial Peace Junior kit for my son when he was only three years old. Get ’em started young right?

Since mentioning a time or two that we use this program, one of the biggest questions I get as a mommy blogger is about how the chores and allowance system works in our home. I don’t always do our chore chart as constantly as I should, but I’ve been incredibly pleased with the success we have had. 
For us at this age we have decided that chores are worth 25 cents. That means if they do 4 chores a day, which many days is doable then they earn a dollar. At the end of the week that’s 5 dollars, because we don’t do weekends. To keep it easy one dollar goes in the Give envelope, one goes in the Save envelope, and one goes to the Spend envelope. The Give goes to church offering on Sunday. The Save is something that represents investments and long term savings so it doesn’t get touched (or maybe it doesn’t exist right now. Oops. we’ll get there eventually.) And lastly the Spend is for a personal purchase, although this is technically something they save for. 
The kit comes with a chore chart and savings dry erase magnet board that we keep on the fridge.

They have actually changed the design since then. This is the old one.

The list of chores at our home ranges from help clean out the car, to folding clothes, or loading the dishwasher. My 7 year old is just now getting to the point that he can do some chores on his own and it actually is helpful. Up until now it’s mostly been him doing a chore with me for the sake of the learning experience. One important thing I should mention is that we have distinguished the difference between a chore and a responsibility. A responsibility is making the bed, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, and getting stuff out of the car. However, it is a chore to vacuum or pick up after your baby brother. In other words we are each responsible for keeping up with our personal stuff and keeping in somewhat in order, but I think the rest is a great opportunity for learning how a paid job works. 

We don’t have a lot of money to put towards the chore lesson so we keep it pretty simple. Our son Z has saved up for a lot of things that we would have probably ended up buying anyway so that helps alleviate some of the chores budget. Two years ago he saved up for a Mario costume for Halloween. He still wears it for dress up, although it is a bit tight! He has also saved up for Christmas presents for us and his siblings. One time the Wii sensor bar broke and he had to save up to replace it. He also uses his own money to pay for mother son events that we have done twice now (a lesson in etiquette). 
He’s also earned money to purchase items from the book fair. So these are all really positive ways he has spent money and they would have been nice purchases regardless, but the fact that he worked for them makes it even more valuable and thoughtful. 
The latest thing that he saved for was a video game and he has bought a few of those with chore money and tooth fairy or birthday money. So I don’t want to imply that he doesn’t get to buy fun stuff too. He knows that whatever purchase he makes has to be mom and dad approved though. He wanted to do another video game back to back and I informed him that Christmas was coming up and he might want to start saving for Santa shop. He agreed, especially since he could put the video game on his Christmas List. 
Not only is he learning about giving and saving, but there is also lessons in math involved. We’ve had practical hands on learning about the value of the dollar and the importance of good work ethics. On top of all that I know that Dave Ramsey’s teaching are Bible based and we child can teach what the word of God says about our finances and why it matters.

These are all the reasons I have loved being able to use this program. Not only does the kit include all of the chore program supplies, but the “Monster Pack” also includes 6 books and audio books with life lessons about money. They are really great lessons! When we go to Chuck E. Cheese, which I call the kiddie casino I am always able to use Junior lessons to explain why you shouldn’t waste all of your money on the games that claim you can win 50 tickets! I am not affiliated with Dave Ramsey or Financial Peace in anyway at all. No kick backs here, but I will say that for $30 more the books are worth it (the basic kit is $20 or there is the Monster Pack for $50). We listen to the discs in the car and have read the stories over and over for the past 3 years. They are large hardback books with colorful, fun illustrations that the kids love and you aren’t going to find these kind of themes about debt, budget, integrity, and savings in other children stories. 

I know I sound like an infomercial. Sorry. I get passionate about this topic because I do think it’s important for our kids. I am sure there are lots of other ways to go about teaching these invaluable lessons, but this has been great for us so far so that’s my “two cents”. 

This is day 24 of a 31 day series. For more Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 24th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|6 Comments

The Helicopter Has Landed

A couple years ago I sat in a waiting room watching a woman fold a million tiny origami
stars. Maybe a million is exaggerating, but she was working on it for a long
time. I asked her what it was for. She said it was her son’s homework assignment
and it was due tomorrow. I don’t remember all the excuses, but her main one
was “He’s never going to use this skill. I mean, if it were important I would
want him to learn it, but this is not something he’ll need to know in the real
I get it. I am not judging that woman, who knows what she
was going through. I could tell she wasn’t proud of it herself, but her
reasoning was lame. Her son may not ever craft another origami star in his
life, but will he have deadlines, tedious projects, assignments that take
precision and focus? He probably will and bailing him out is not going to help
I never thought I would be the helicopter or drill sergeant
parent, but I have to tell you it does crop up. There have been a number of
times I have seen my son on the play ground with kids that I had a bad feeling
about and I would just go into mama bear/eagle eye/ lioness
/whatever-other-strong-animal-image-you-can-think-of mode. It’s hard not to
swoop in and rescue.  I knew this was a
tendency of mine and when reading descriptions for “the three damaging
motherly stereo types” from Wild Things it was confirmed. I saw that out of The Man Hater, The
Mother Hen
, and The Overly Bonded Mother I related to The Mother Hen a little
more than I wanted to admit. I think it’s natural and good that we want to
protect our children, sometimes that what we’re here for. We have to watch out that we aren’t being over involved though. Out of the three books
that I’ve been referencing they all mention the dangers of both hovering and controlling, and how they ultimately teach children to operate on the basis of fear and shame.
If we want responsible kids we have to give them more
responsibility. I went to a conference about this last year at my son’s school.
The advice was let them do their own laundry, walk to local destinations when possible, and
let them fail assignments too. I have already talked about how it’s okay formistakes to be made (especially when the price tag is low), but it bears
repeating because if we can’t shield our child from the pain of failure and suffering
in the world, what we can do is teach them how to cope with it now.
I’ll end with this excerpt from Wild Things “ If we don’t
allow the boys we love to suffer with the disappointments of life, we undermine
their manhood by sending them messages that say, “You’re weak. You can’t handle
life”. Intentionally or not, by our words and our actions we communicate to our
boys that they’re not capable or responsible.”

This book is written for caregivers of boys, but it applies
to girls as well. I want to see my children be stretched to their fullest
potential, even if it hurts to watch (gulp). Will you join me?   
This is day 23 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.
By | October 23rd, 2014|Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Being Fun and Unpredictable

I’ve given a lot of information over the past 21 days of this series. It’s been a little overwhelming for me and hopefully not too much for you. I feel like a lot of it is freeing and I am very passionate about the idea of Teachable Parenting, but I never want to come across as preachy. You can get so wrapped up in the “how to” parenting stuff that even the gentle discipline approach can become a beating for the adult. It’s not supposed to be that way.
Children are a lot of work, and it can be exhausting.
For the people that comment nearly everyday “You look like you have your hands full” or “they sure are strong willed aren’t they” All I can say is yes.
Yes I do have my hands full and yes they are strong willed, but I’d rather full than empty. I’d rather strong than weak.
It’s not as bad as it may look in passing. I get to have a lot of fun with these little fire balls. So, today I want to share a parenting tip that is more about enjoyment together.


In Wild Things the book recommends changing it up, being unpredictable or risk being dismissed. They give a story of a mother that made spaghetti and meatballs for her husband and two sons (ages twelve and fifteen) and served it on the patio behind their house. In the middle of dinner
she picked up a handful of spaghetti and chucked it at the boys. The salad and meatballs shortly followed. Both boys were so amazed that they just sat there,
stunned at first, and then began laughing harder and longer than they ever had in their life. None of their friends believed them when the boys told them what
had happened. This mother was neither predictable nor dismissed. She was a hero.
Now, I am not suggested scoring through pinterest for calculated ideas on how to be the unpredictable mom. I think you need to be yourself and I think you need to have fun with your kids in whatever way shape or form that looks like to you. Not everyday is going to be fun. You are the parent not the BFF, but the point is to lighten up from time time, especially if you feel like your home is becoming a purgatory.
My latest crazy fun family time which I haven’t shared on this blog yet, was the Color Dash Bubble Bash that I did over the summer. It was also a beautiful lesson in paying it forward because BB4K is an organization that helped fund my daughter’s summer therapy this year at her deaf school. Not only were we able to give through the money raised for the event, but we had blast! The event happened over a month ago and they haven’t stopped talking about it since.
That wasn’t some creative idea that I came up with and it doesn’t have to be. Or if it is like the spaghetti thing than that’s great too. Or it could be spur of the moment thing. Another recent super, crazy, fun activity was when my husband and son were flying a glider in the park and my husband decided to tape his phone to the plane to see video from the planes perspective.I gripe about my kids in a light hearted way because I want others to know that for most of us motherhood is not a cake walk and it’s normal to feel like your are loosing your mind. It’s also normal to feel like you are experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings everyday through the beautiful children He’s given you. They are a lot of fun, and sometimes it’s up to us to join in!

I previously mentioned the post I wrote called “Turns Out Mom Was Right” and I share some of her more unpredictable moments, which turned into unforgettable memories. I also explain why these experiences meant so much to me.

Think back to your childhood when did you see your parents kick back and loosen up? What were the times that you laughed the hardest? What kind of fun traditions or wild spontaneous memories are you building with your children?


I think you know what the next teachable parent challenge is! Have fun…

By | October 22nd, 2014|Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|5 Comments

Tackling Those Terrible Tantrums

I went on and on yesterday explaining the mind of a toddler. If you missed it I would encourage you to go back and read it sometime. I consider it Part One of my toddler spin off series. Some of you have been on the edge of your seats waiting for my ultimate toddler tip and I hope you are not too disappointed to hear that I came up with this one all by myself (thank you very much). This also means you should proceed with caution considering it’s like the moonshine of parenting advice. It’s just three simple actions that I have found apply to nearly every tantrum scenario in some form or another. The three words are:

 Correct. Redirect. Disconnect. 

Before we dive in, let me address some potentially controversial points. When I talk about a temper tantrum I am going to assume that we can all use our best judgement to know what a tantrum is compared to a legitimate need, and I am also going to assume that these are for children that do not have any special sensory processing disorders or other special needs because I don’t know what the best approach is in those situations. And lastly I am going to go ahead and specify that this is for around 2-4 year olds. I personally believe that a child younger than 18 months is not manipulating a parent. There is tons of research to support that babies in the first two years of life need nurturing, loving response above anything else. I do not believe in “disconnect” with babies. I will have to stop there or I’ll start another blog post. 

That’s my boy during his two year old photo session. He’s a doll isn’t he? 

Okay, so yesterday we learned that most toddlers are going to act out of control for a couple years. Even though it might be inevitable that does not mean we let them get away with spitting, hitting, biting, screaming, thrashing, yelling… fill in the blank. No way! This is the most crucial time for us to teach our children the right way to handle their emotions and it is a privilege to do so. That is why of course we correct it every time. Even if it takes 100 or more times before we see improvement. 

After we have addressed the issue through correction we can get them to move on to something else which is where the redirect comes in. In some cases this also means relocate. This is the part were we give our child a chance to calm down rather than blow up. 

 However, for those that have strong willed children they are focused on whatever they have their minds set on and they are going to dig their heels into the ground until there are ruts! That means it’s time for you to disconnect. I don’t think you should abandon your screaming child completely or leave them in a dangerous situation, but if you have already addressed the issue then there is no need stir the pot or cater to their disrespect. It’s time to let them ride the wave until they are ready to return to their senses. According to Love and Logic 
The best way to raise a chronically unhappy and poorly behaved kid is to make a habit of giving them a lot of attention or pizzazz when they are misbehaving.” 
Sometimes it’s best for the child to be screaming in their room so the family can go about their business contecting with each other. It won’t be long before your little bug-a-boo (or whatever pet name you have) is totally recuperated and ready to be involved again. 

Keep in mind this isn’t always a 3 step process that has to be done with all three in the same order. Sometimes you just have to correct and disconnect. Other times you don’t have to disconnect at all if the redirect part works. Exactly what this looks like will depend on the age and the situation, but I’ll give a few examples that I have dealt with in the past six years with my children. I’ll put asterisks with links next to the tips that have been previously mentioned in this series.

18-24 Months Old:
The child takes a toy from his playmate. 

Correct: Tell the child “Uh Oh. We don’t take toys. You need to give it back and say sorry.” *Short and simple*

Redirect: Offer the child a different toy.

Disconnect: If the child is throwing a huge fit about it, you may just have to wait out the temper tantrum. Let the toddler know they can continue play time when they calm down and then do not give them attention in response to their whaling.

Two Year old:
The child wants to walk, but you need them to sit in the stroller.
Correct: “I’m sorry you are upset, but mommy is going to push you in the stroller so that you can stay safe with me.” *Enforceable statement*
Redirect: “Do you want to sit and do the buckle yourself or do you want mommy to help?” If they don’t decide in 10 seconds you sit them in the stroller if possible. *Choices*
Disconnect: No time for melt downs. Push that stroller mama! I use this example because I have a two year old and he has to go with me to pick up his brother and sister inside their schools everyday and has to be done in a hurry! The stroller is a life saver for me because he can be buckled in and I can keep moving.  

3 Year Old

You are at a gift shop on Vacation and you are buying batteries. Meanwhile your child has decided to pick out a $45 gigantic stuffed horse.

Correct: “Uh-Oh. That horse can’t come with us! He has to stay here, say bye bye horse”

Redirect: “Do you want to hold these batteries and we can go see some butterflies?”

Disconnect: In the real life story where this took place my daughter threw herself on the ground literally kicking and screaming. I had to check out, so relocating wasn’t an option. I was by myself and she is getting a little too big to try to hold when she’s flailing like that. So she made a huge scene and I stood there calmly knowing that despite what anyone else around me was thinking I was aware that “I control myself, but I don’t control others”. In these situations I will often have people comment “Ewww, that floor is dirty” In a helpful way trying to coerce the chid to get up. I just agree with them and keep controlling myself. No big deal (even if it feels like it is). Eventually it’s over, I haven’t had to spend the night in the store yet. Rest assured, they WILL grow out tot this.

4 Year Old:

I hope your child is mature enough to never, ever throw a fit at this age, but for mothers like me that may have late bloomers here is my advice. They are crossing a bridge developmentally at this age. Try to introduce a lot more of the timer, choices, enforceable statements, and logical consequences, but be feel free to treat them like a toddler if they choose to act like one.

For example, The child is having a great time on a play date until lo and behold it’s over and they have to go home! So they insist that they are not leaving.

Correct: You really love playing with your friend don’t you? Too bad, we have to go home. *empathy primes the pump for learning*

Redirect: Why don’t you see if there is a CD you want to listen to in the car?If they don’t take the redirect bait then go ahead and switch to the relocate tactics. I have been in plenty of situations where I have to use force to break up a play date. If your child is big enough to carry and I pray for your sake they are, then you might have to do what I call the bandaid technique. Just rip it off quick instead of prolonging the agony. In other words grab them and head for the door. Or if not, you’ll have to consider some logical consequences, or enlist your friend to help. My kids always listen to other people for some reason.

Disconnect: You might have to listen to a lot of screaming. The good news is you are in the car so it’s a little easier to ignore because they are stuck in their seat and you don’t have to look at them. 

This is a photo my husband took when I was pregnant with my second and my 2 year old wanted to be carried everywhere! I just couldn’t do that all the time and she is my “throw yourself on the ground tantrumer”. So It took a long time to get anywhere in that season.

I know these might seem obvious and probably not helpful. I wish I had a magic wand, but instead I just get a chance to practice a lot of patience and perseverance.  It’s a wonderful age though. Just consider the Correct, Redirect, and Disconnect approach when facing some of these challenges and last, but not least,

I repeat -This too shall pass!   

This is day 21 of a 31 day series. For more Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 21st, 2014|Babies & Toddlers, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Children Are People

All the books I mentioned and
the whole concept of Teachable Parenting comes down to the realization
that children are people too. Did Dr. Seuss not already tell us this in Horton
Hears a Who
? A person’s a person no matter how small. Obviously a child is
different than an adult. They sit in a car seat in the back for their safety
because they are smaller. They go to school and not work because their minds
are still developing. They don’t drive cars or own real estate because a full
grown person is not equal to an immature person, but if anything this should
make us be more considerate of these fragile people rather than to overlook
their needs because they are merely children.
I came across an article the
other day that posed the idea that everything the Bible has to say about loving
your neighbor would therefor also apply to your family. She even uses the same
Dr. Seuss quote I do on the subject. I believe Jen Wilken really hits the nail
on the head when she says
“If children are people, then our own children are our very
closest neighbors. No other neighbor lives closer or needs our self-sacrificing
love more.”
She then goes onto list out some excellent verses that can
be applied to common parenting situations and I would really encourage you to
go to the link and check it out. A couple of my favorites are:
When I want to correct my kids with
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a
harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

When I want to lecture them:
Know this, my beloved brothers: let
every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of
man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20)

When I want to make them make me look awesome:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philipians 2:3-4)

Or there is always the golden
rule of course (Matthew 7:12)! It’s so simple, and yet so profound. The Bible talks a lot about how we should treat other people. Children are people. They are needy, vulnerable, young people and they are a gift from
the Lord. 

By | October 19th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|1 Comment

The Magic Kitchen Timer

I don’t know if you’ve heard of fly lady. It’s a program to help messy people like me try and clean up their act. I implement some their strategies every once in a while if I get motivated, but the one thing that has stuck with me over the years, and I will
probably use it forever, is my timer! The reason you use a timer for cleaning is
because naturally messy people need to break projects down into sizable bits.
One of Fly Lady’s famous sayings is “I can do anything for 15 minutes” and so
when I feel overwhelmed by the house I will set my timer on one room for 15
minutes. Or sometimes I do the 3 minute hot spot which is where you organize and tidy up a high
clutter zone for 3 minutes flat. I know this series isn’t about cleaning, but
if the timer can help someone who is a prone to distraction imagine how it can
help children!
When I first checked out my daughters private school I was
amazed at how they were able to corral the toddlers and keep such order in the
midst of a fun and loving learning environment. I remember watching them
transition from one activity to another, and I distinctly recall when snack time was over. As I watched the teacher collect their cups and napkins to prepare for the next thing I was shocked! They weren’t done yet. Wait a minute, Suzie still had a couple goldfish left! I thought to myself, but surprisingly the children moved along
smoothly and Suzie did not starve to death (of course Suzie is not her name,
and they may not have even been goldfish). It was eye opening to watch. For the record, you won’t find me using a completely militant schedule and routine at home because that’s just not how I roll.  However I did learn how the structure and routine really does benefit children and all the parenting books I’ve read seem to confirm that.
So I do use a timer for many things at home, whether it’s 10
minutes to do each chore, or 5 minutes until 
it’s time for bed, or 5 minutes left of snack time. My favorite is the crazy mom I turn into when I use a timer at the park. As soon as we arrive I set the timer for one hour (or
whatever the limit is) and when the timer goes off I approach each child with a
blarring phone that does a trumpet sound when time is up. I show them PROOF that
time is up. They hear it. They see it. They don’t always come a runnin’,
but I guarantee you it has made a difference. Transitions are so much smoother with my timer. I love it! I have gone
through several just from wear and tear I guess, and I freak out  when that happens. I find myself in panic mode until it is
replaced. Timer was one of the first words of my two youngest children. I am
not kidding about this you guys!
 Anyway, I am just a
mom (ha), let’s hear what the expert Dr. Phelan clinical psychologist and author of 1-2-3 Magic has to say
about it. 
“The people who manufacture timers think they’re for baking cakes.
They’re not- timers are for raisng kids! Kitchen timers can be a great help for
just about any routine, whether it’s picking up, feeding the fish,
getting up in the morning, taking the garbage out, or going to bed. Kids, especially the younger ones, have a narual tendency to want to beat a ticking mechanicl
device. The problem then becomes a case of man against machine (rather than
child against parent).”
“Kitchen timers are also effective because they are not
testable. Machines cannot be emotionally manipulated.”
I never really looked at it that way. I just knew it helped
me a lot! I mentioned using my phone and a kitchen timer, but you could use your microwave, an alarm clock, or whatever. I have never tried the hour glass timer, but I bet the kids would have fun watching that one. It really doesn’t matter what you use and most options are very inexpensive. Now then, how about we go set a timer and watch the magic happen. Good luck!

Tjis is day 17 or a 31 day series. For more Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 18th, 2014|Family, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|2 Comments