Keep it Short and Simple

This week I have shared some practical tips for Teachable Parenting including; Logical ConsequencesHow to Respond to Whining, and Giving Choices. Today’s tip is to avoid lectures and keep things short and simple. All of the three books I have previously sited will give this same advice, especially with very
young children, LESS IS MORE! Sometimes it’s a loving motives that make you want to explain
every detail of why the child is in trouble or can’t do something, but just
remember the Charlie Brown teacher “waaah, waaaah, waaaah, waaah wah” and try to keep
your child from tuning you out. Love and Logic has tons of one liner phrases to
help keep things simple. A simple phrase used both repeatedly and
consistently along with actions is more meaningful. It becomes a conditioned response. A couple examples from Love and Logic are “Uh-Oh” and “Bummer”.
So you would say “uh oh, we
don’t throw our food, looks like your done eating.” And take the plate away.
Or “ I said not to hit
your sister. Bummer. I guess that means you need to leave the living room area since
you aren’t playing nice”
Honestly, I am not very good
at this method, but it’s something to consider. It also gives you a chance to take a breath and think before you react. Danny silk describes it as “One liner phrases that are there for your
sanity. They are a way for you to kick your brain into neutral while the other
person is trying to drive you into the Crazy Ditch”.
One final tip from Wild
Things
. Be concise. The more words a teacher or parent uses, the greater the
odds that a boy will tune you out. Try to keep your verbal instructions to no
more than a minute. And be sure not to layer instructions one after another.”
 As
a girl, I can attest to this being true for both genders in some cases, especially
depending on the age.

Those are just some ideas. It doesn’t come naturally, at least not for me. But sometimes I
have to save my vent sessions for my mom, husband, or Jesus and spare my child so
that they can process rather than tune me out.

This is day 15 of a 31 Day Series. For more Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 15th, 2014|Babies & Toddlers, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|7 Comments

CHOICES

So once we know that we don’t control others and that anger short circuits learning how the heck do we get our family out the door in the morning? How
do we leave the park when the fun is over, or get our children to do their
homework, or go to bed at night? I mean, I am a fan of bribery when I’m
desperate, but surely there is a better way.
That is where choices come in. One way to raise confident independent children is
by offering them lots and lots of choices. When we try to bully our children into doing things they might learn obedience, but it can also lead to a feeling of powerlessness and frustration. However, when we share the control, even (and
especially) in small and insignificant things, their wheels start spinning and
you give them a priceless gift. It’s the gift of thinking. The way you share this control and empower them is through choices. 
The Love and Logic rules about choices is that they can’t be
dangerous or create problems for others, and Dr. Fay says if the child does not
choose in 10 seconds you choose for them. 
Here is how it works. All day long, for any situation that you feel
works for you, you ask your child if they want “this or that”. It only works
when you are okay with either option. Every time you offer them two of the
right choices you are teaching them to have some control
of their actions. They are learning to make good choices in an environment that is safe and when the price tag is low!
Sometimes they don’t get a choice. It’s perfectly fine to
explain that you have given them lots of opportunities to choose, but now it is
your turn to decide. There are also going to be plenty of times where any child
with a mouth will choose a third option (which was not given). In this case you
stick to your guns and decide on the appropriate consequence. As Danny Silk
says in Loving Our Kids On Purpose
“This is the real world, and it really works
like this. We are all making choices in every situation, and those choices are
bringing certain consequences into our lives. When we show our children what the
real world is like, we equip them to be aware of the fact that they are making
choices all the time and we enable them to take responsilbiltiy for them.” 
 The example he gives is let’s say the dad
offers a choice for the child to clean up his room or pay dad to clean it for him. The son chooses neither and 
leaves. The dad happily cleans the room and BONUS- it gets done the way
he wants it. Then later he tells the son he owes him $50. Of course the son
either has no means to pay or refuses to pay. So that dad calmly enforms him
that he can easily get $50 for the Xbox and then he follows through with selling it. It is STRONGLY recommend that you never ever suggest a consequence or choice that you are not
willing to enforce. For example, he says you better not just hide that Xbox for 6 months and bring it back out. That defeats the whole lesson and the lesson
is more valuable than an Xbox!
I personally have been doing this method of choices for three years now
and it has been transformative! In the morning let’s say my daughter is not
really feeling like getting ready I will just whip out the choices to get her to wake up and put her thinking cap on. Do you want boots or sneakers? Pick one. Do you want a waffle or cereal? Do you want one pony tail or two? This method  is so
much smoother than just barking orders and getting into fights. We still hit
walls,  esepecially if lets say she wants
to wear a swimsuit to school or eat a candy bar for breakfast, but it alleviates some of the battles, I can promise you that. The more you practice it the
more natural it will come and you’ll find yourself  giving choices with ease when it’s the heat
of the moment.
When I read Love and Logic in 2012 I wrote this example
out that I was using at the time. I guess I was anticipating a blog post. Looks like it only took 2 years for me to get around to it! Anyway It’s neat to look back over it because our bed
time routine is completely different now, but it’s actually so much better than
it was back then. So that’s encouraging for me to see how far we’ve come!
At bedtime
Instead of starting the process by announcing “The movie is done it’s time for bed” followed by
protests and melt downs. It might go something like this
Do you
want to wear your Mario Pajamas, or snowmen? 
Okay,
well who is going to turn the tv off tonight? Me or you?
Now what
are we going to do brush teeth or go potty? 
Do you
want to brush your teeth or do you want me to do it for you? 
(whiney
voice)
I am
sorry I don’t understand. 
(whiney
voice) 
I can’t
understand the whiney voice I can when it’s a big boy voice
(whiney
voice)
I will
listen to you when your voice sounds like mine. 
Z: I don’t
want to brush my teeth mom. 
You can
brush your teeth or I can brush them for you, but if I brush them I get to pick
the book we read tonight.
Then he
brushes his teeth and picks a book
Then we
say a prayer 
Then he
usually wants to keep the book with him and I let him, but if it distracts him
from sleeping I take it away and he knows that. One night I took the book and
he had a huge breakdown throwing himself on the floor and the whole shebang. So I said, OH
DEAR I guess we aren’t going to be able to pick that book again
. I then
followed through with this consequence when he wanted that book later. 
That was when my son was 5 and now he is 7. Like I said, I
haven’t even looked at these notes since then and I am just amazed. That’s my personal little testimony I guess.
For the record when your children are very young there
isn’t a whole of logical thought process developed in their little minds, so
sometimes you do have to take the bull by the cute little horns, and I mean
that in a loving way. If you’re a mother I am sure you have had to force your
baby into a car seat, or take away dangerous objects without giving them a
choice, or my favorite break up a fight by dragging the offending toddler off of
the victim. I’ll be sharing a separate blog post on my opinions on parenting children
under 5, but it’s not too early to start implementing some of these teachable
parenting tactics. Whenever you feel like they are ready for some simple
options then go for it. I think you will be amazed at what you see! I know I
have. 
This is day 14 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.
By | October 14th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|5 Comments

Logical Consequences

It’s day 12 of the 31 days of Teachable Parenting challenge and I’ve given a lot of Bible verses and shared a lot about matters of the heart. That is the core of Teachable Parenting. It isn’t a formula that you memorize. It’s a lifestyle. However, I know everyone (myself included) wants examples of what that looks like and direction on how to handle specific scenarios. This week I am going to be giving a lot more tips on how to be a teachable parent, including giving choices, using enforceable statements, limiting your words, and setting a timer. Today’s tip is to use logical consequences.

My caption when I posted this youtube video over a year ago was “I told her she was being too rough… She had it coming.” For the record she was totally fine, but what she got was an impromptu lesson in logical consequences. She kept pushing to hard and eventually the baby “pushed back”. 

Teachable Parenting wants children to be able to learn from their mistakes which is why this method relies heavily on logical consequences. That means having a response to behavior that either happens on it’s own, like refusing to wear a jacket and then being cold, or a disciplinary action that corresponds with the offense. For example if the child doesn’t clean up their toys they loose the toys until they can earn them back. 

In Loving Our Kids On Purpose, Danny Silk talks about how using one form of discipline as a “one
size fits all” consequence is like using a hammer to build a house, which would
be impossible. You are going to need lots of tools! Logical consequences are forms of discipline customized to fit the teachable offense. The idea of customizing a
“punishmenent to fit the crime” is often scary for some because it implements
creativity and some of us don’t feel like we are creative people, but you’ll get the hang of it. The more you do it the more you will see that you can implement logical
consequences and it relieves a lot of the stress that we feel through
parenting. Believe me!
Here are five examples of logical consequences.
1. The child colored on the wall- the child cleans up the wall and
gives the crayons to mommy and daddy until they feel like you they are ready to use
them responsibly.
2. The child is being destructive and breaks a siblings toy- The parent take the offenders favorite toy as payment, or they have to do work to earn enough for a replacement.
4. The child refuses to eat dinner.- They are not allowed to have
dessert or snack.
5. The child is fighting and being disruptive.- They should go to
another room until they are ready to play nicely with others.
Examples of the opposite would be either 5 spankings, 5 time-outs,
or always loosing TV priviledge for every single offense. 
Obviously there are times that you may not be able to use logical
consequences like on issues that are dangerous or if it creates a problem for
others. Seat belts is one that I am still working on. My dad used to slam on
his breaks and let us all fall onto the floor of our old VW van. Now, whether
he was just alleviating his boredom on long road trips or trying to teach us a
lesson in safety I’m not sure. The point is I don’t want my children to learn the hard
way on this one because I value their lives, but as far as how to enforce it,
well, it feels like a daily battle that I am still working on. 
However, one more example that is very personal to me and I am being
vulnerable here, but my 7 year old got his clip moved all the way down to red a couple weeks ago at school. If
you don’t know the clip system your clip starts on green, then yellow if you need a
warning, orange means you are in hot water and the teacher gets to choose the
disciplinary action. RED IS BAD! Red means you really blew it and the parents
will be notified. You can imagine how horrified I was to hear this news, first
from my son, then from his teacher. He hit someone in the back on the
playground and swung his jacket around and caught another kid in the eye. No
one was seriously injured and it was probably just him being a boy. However, I
have always said I would side with the teacher and collobarte with them instead
of making excuses for my child. So my son had to write a letter of apology
(which of course for him included an illustration of the offense) and give it
to the boys who were hurt. He had to ask forgiveness to me and his teachers.
Then he had to use his strength and energy for good instead of bad, to help and
not harm. In this case that called for unlimited chores for the rest of the
week. He had no time for electronics. Just chores, homework, dinner, bath, and
play time at the park with the family, but at home it was all business.
Did it work? Will he ever hit again? Will he be a model citizen and
grow up to prove that he had the best mom in the world? I don’t know. In the
end he is the one who controls himself and makes decisions. My job is to pray
for him and with him, and guide/instruct to the best of my abilities. I will say that it’s been two weeks since then and he hasn’t even had his clip moved to orange once! I have been in touch with his teacher and I am so relieved that it looks like he did in fact learn a lesson in this season.
So that is the basics of using logical consequences, also known as natural or related consequence. 
Do you have a story like this from your childhood or have you found a natural/related consequence that you use with your children? Please share. I am always looking for creative
ways to teach invaluable lessons!


This is Day 12 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 12th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|1 Comment

What To Do When They Really Push Your Buttons

I know the Keep Calm memes got old a while ago, but it really does apply here! 

We’ve discussed loving responses for mistakes and emotional outbursts. We also talked about how empathy is so much more effective than anger when disciplining a child. Today I am going to touch on how and why you should keep calm when your children are really pushing your buttons.

My children love to push buttons! I mean that in all kinds of ways. They could have a knock-down drag-out fight about who gets to hit the up or down when we get to an elevator. It never fails I find  the hazard lights on in my car after they have a chance to jump in the front seat (how could they resist? It is a big red button). Beyond that they know what makes me tick and they know how to push my buttons on an emotional level. Why is that? Well, when a child knows how to push your buttons they watch you loose control and it makes them feel like they have control. Disrespect is usually a big weapon in their arsenal. When they push that button the power is in their court. What do you do now?
One of the number one strategies that I
have taken from reading Love and Logic and Loving Our Kids on Purpose is
this;
I have to show my kids that handling them is a breeze. I can
take anything they throw at me without breaking a sweat. I can do this by replacing anger and frustration with
assertive yet kind actions.
Although it’s not always that simple, it certainly is an
inspirational model of power  that omits
the usage of fear, threats, and intimidation as the motivating factor!
There will be power struggles and what I’ve learned through
this Teachable Parenting method is that the way to avoid the struggle is to
suggest that you are not intimidated by the child’s tantrum or defiance.  You don’t have to puff out your chest, shake your finger, and yell, (or growl, I’ve tried growling). You just have to be an example of
steadfast self control, and then follow through with the appropriate consequence. So on one hand you have parenting that demands control by proving that you are superior and can overpower your children. On the other hand you have Teachable Parenting which gains control by exhibiting self control in the midst of your children.  So it is great that I am writing this because I can have hundreds of people hold me accountable for the countless times I do not practice what I preach. 
Since reading these books I often hear a voice in my head say “show them that handling them is a breeze” because I want to be a source of strength that they can turn to even when they are at their worst. And I want  them to know that no matter what they do, even
if they break my heart, I’m still their mom and I will always love them. So in those moments of disrespect the best thing you can do is break that cycle and instead of taking the bait try turning the gears of honor in it’s place. As Danny Silk  says in
Loving Our Kids on Purpose
“The ability to manage your children and yourself toward the
goals that you have in being a parent rests in the ability to tell yourself what to do and do it no
matter what they’ve done or are doing. Can you manage you no matter what your kids are doing? Just as God is able to say
to us, we want to be able to say to our kids, “I will be a loving and
respectful parent no matter what you do.”
The thing about the New Covenant model is that it has to be true for us.
The model of Christ in our lives has to be real and it has to sink in. Do you
believe it? Do you believe that God is a loving God that is there for you no
matter what? I keep referencing 2 timothy 1:7. Do you believe that the spirit of fear isn’t in
you, but one of power, love, and a sound mind. Do you believe that Jesus paid the price and he is ready
to handle anything that you throw at him  (1 John 2:2 ). Or That nothing can separate you
from him (Romans 8:37-39)  and He wants
you to draw near to him even, in your darkest time (Hebrew 10:19)? Because
when you really begin to know God and trust him in every area he changes you from the inside out. I want my children to know these Biblical truths.

Just remember, God is not intimidated by you or your disrespectful child. He has
equipped you as a parent and you can do this! 


This is day 11 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE

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By | October 11th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|1 Comment

The Biblical Model for New Covenant Parenting

The foundation of my
beliefs in what I have been labeling “Teachable Parening” is that my family
unit can be a reflection of God’s relationship with us. When we look at the
Bible to see how God relates to us as his children, we see that in the Old Testament there was a system of external control. There were priests that were your
connection to God and sacrifices for the atonement of sin. In the old covenant things were rough, God did indeed seem angry. Then in Jeremiah 31:27 it was prophesied that there would be a new covenant that would change everything. In the New Testament we learn how God gave his son for us and paid the price for all of our sin on the
cross. We now have a new covenant with God. He is in us and moves through us. All we have to do is allow him to.

This is all the basis for
Christianity and for believers it’s good news, but it’s also something most of
us have known for a long time. But do we apply these New covenant principles in
relating to our children? Should we?
In Loving Our Kids On Purpose Danny Silk gets to the heart of the matter as he writes 
“On the cross,
Jesus dealt with the condition that required God to relate to us from the
outside. As a result, punishment, wrath, and intimidation have all disappeared
from His attitude toward us. God is a safe
place
. Because sin has been dealt
with in the New Covenant, we no longer need to be punished or controlled but
need to learn to manage our freedom responsibly, which changes the goal of
government as well as the goal of parenting. When love and freedom replace
punishment and fear as the motivating forces in the relationship between parent
and child, the quality of life improves dramatically for all involved.”
I know it sounds crazy to
even suggest love and freedom in place of punishment. Do we want to let our
kids run a muck? No, that is not the strategy here. There is a difference between punishment and
discipline We all need to be disciplined, especially children. We all need
guidance and correction, and to understand that there are consequences for our
actions. Teachable Parenting is not about omitting any of that, but the main
goal is to break the cycle of disrespect and create a culture of honor by
focusing on the character and heart above all. 
When the new covenant was
established and Jesus went up into heaven he left us with the Holy Spirit which
is another element of the model we have for our family. In John 16:7 Jesus
describes the one coming as the comforter or helper. Then in 2 Corinthians 3:17
we see that where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! One more verse
for the home stretch which I quoted yesterday 2 Timothy 1:7 God has
not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and a sound mind. Or I
love what the amplified says 
“a spirit of power
and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and
self-control.”
So in this new covenant we see God working on our hearts from the inside out and we embrace a
lifestyle of freedom, comfort, love etc. then I look at the style of parenting
that uses threats and intimidation to get results in behavior and it just doesn’t
seem to gel. There is a contradiction there.

Over the course of this series we are going to continue to explore what it looks like to be a teachable parent
and to have teachable children. There will be a lot more practical tools along
with personal testimonies, but for know let’s just look over God’s word and
really pray about what a new covenant parent looks like and ask for guidance on
a specific and personal level. God cares enough to customize an answer that is perfect for you. Freedom awaits. 

This is day 10 of a 31 day series. For more Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 10th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Anger Vs Empathy

For those that were raised under a stern voice and an iron fist
it might seem like those methods are the only reasonable way to bring instruction to those we
love. It’s for their own good right? I understand that so much of this, what I
will call good-old-fashioned parenting style was done out of love. Some may even boast that it was successful, although I might suggest that the success derived from parents
that where involved and caring and not in the methods themselves.
The problem that arises with using the drill sergeant
method with children is that from everything I’ve read this is not an effective
tool to use for learning. I think we’ve all heard of the fight or flight reaction. Well, when I was studying natural childbirth I learned that in nature if an animal
feels threatened labor will stop.

I’ll try not to be too descriptive here, but the
body will literally clamp up and shut down birth efforts in order for the animal to be
able to find a safer location. The same can be true for women in an
uncomfortable birth environment. I know most of you are really not interested in
a natural child birth pep talk, but let’s apply this to discipline.

When we discipline in anger it short circuits the learning potential
because the “fight or flight” response kicks in automatically when we feel
threatened. The child’s brain is going to secrete adrenaline which
will cause them to tighten up physically and mentally. You aren’t going to get
through to that child because their body is prepared for action. Think of your
child getting a shot. You tell them to relax and that it’s for their own good,
but they still tighten up naturally because there is fear there. This
tightening is from a part of the brain that is used for survival, it is not the
same part of the brain that is used for learning.
I actually love to learn about science and how
our bodies were designed, so when I first read about this (and then had it confirmed through various sources) it just made sense to me. That is why
using
empathy before delivering consequences isn’t an excuse to baby our children, it’s opening up their mind to learning!
I’m going to camp here for a minute because it’s such a HUGE part of Teachable Parenting and I want to share three individual ideas on the
topic from each of the three books this series is based on.
First, I love what Love and Logic says about how all of this can
impact the internal voice in your child’s head. 

“Kids who are given
empathy quickly develop a healthy voice inside of their heads. Instead of
blaming or shifting responsibility, this voice asks, “how is my next decision
going to affect my life? Which choice is going to be the wisest?” When our
children face  consequences, our spoonful of empathy is what makes the
medicine of learning go down.” 



Imagine if we could break the cycle of the self-deprecating/abusive inner dialogue that we use when we beat ourselves up for shortcomings! Wow. That’s freeing. 

Okay, second is how this
fits in line with the ultimate inner voice; the word of God and the Holy Spirit.
This next paragraph is from Loving Our Kids On Purpose
“Sadness and
empathy are what the Holy Spirit shows us when we fail. He doesn’t punish us. He comforts us. He shows us that He is sad for us, and invites us to come, of our
own free will, to benefit from His great wisdom and power for fixing problems.
(See, for example, John 14:26; John 16:13; Galations 4:6). His response to our
failure actually helps us to trust Him more. And when we respond to our
children like He responds to us, they trust us more because they learn that they
can fail in front of us.

Remember, in the New Covenant God did not send the punisher to come alongside us. He sent the HELPER, the COMFORTER, and that is of course the Holy Spirit.

Lastly, here is
some practical advice on the topic from Wild Things

“Model
self-control and self-regulation in your words and actions when you are
frustrated or angry as a parent. An emotionally charged adult only provides
more fuel to the already emotionally charged child.”



Now last night, when my kids were running around as they were brushing their teeth, they were getting toothpaste everywhere and spilling water and I was screaming this is supposed to be our WIND DOWN time. I wasn’t exactly ready to respond out of love. I have to work on that, but then there are times you can’t start with empathy, like when your child hits their sibling or darts into the street. In all of this I don’t want people to look at these tools with an extremist mentality. The first step though is just to recognize that this Teachable Parenting is an option and our children can learn obedience without using threats and manipulation. For some people this is a huge step. The bottom line, perfect love casts out fear. 



This is day 9 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 9th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Allow Them To Feel

You may notice I talk a lot about allowing things to happen because
that would be the opposite of controlling. Yesterday was about allowing our children to make mistakes. Today’s focus is allowing our children to feel.  The controlling parent route is rigid and external. It’s using your dominance as the parent
to eliminate mistakes, eliminate screaming, crying, pouting etc. None of this is allowed.
The thing about Teachable Parenting is that having children who know how to shut up and butt out is not the ultimate goal. Our kids are real people, with real emotions, fears, and heartache. We have to teach and model for them a variety of real life feelings and how to handle them. 
We are so distracted in this day and age that we as adults
want to numb our feelings and cover them up with television, computers, eating,
drinking, or whatever the drug of choice is. We do the same with our children at
times. We pacify them with phones and iPads or threaten them with
punishment depending on if their cries are an
inconvenience. Or sometimes it just plain makes us uncomfortable. We don’t want
our children to feel bad so we inadvertently teach them not to feel. Don’t get
me wrong , I bribe my children. I give into to their whaling more often
than I should, and sometimes the relentless screaming is flat out
inappropriate. So I don’t want to take this to an extreme, because there is a
time and a place to vent.  I still feel like the topic of expressing emotions is  worth consideration and evaluation.
In the book Wild Things it says: 

“Boys need help in discriminating among their feelings. We can help by
teaching them to develop a rich emotional vocabulary. Beginning when he is very
young – but you can do this at any age – help your boy connect words to his
feelings.”

“Boys who have a large vocabulary of “feeling words” are
better at expressing their emotions using language rather than behavioral
outbursts. As caregivers we need engaging ways to teach boys a vocabulary for
emotions and to help them identify feelings within themselves and on the faces
of others. We have to teach them empathy.”
Girls in general tend to connect with their feelings more easily than boys and are able to identify instead of suppress emotions. However, these tips are a great practice for either gender and can apply to both! For example let’s say the child is having a melt down over a lost helium balloon. Instead of saying 
Oh really? Your upset now? What do you expect sweetie? Your balloon flew away
because you took it off your wrist! That’s what you get. I tried to tell you!
No more balloon. We are done.
Or taking it the other direction
 “SHHHHH! It’s okay. It’s
okay. You can have another balloon. No big deal. Settle down.”
You can say 
“Oh man, does that make you sad? Your tears make
me think you are so sad. Why do you think that happened? ”

Your child maybe too young or too old for this scenario. And
for the record, full disclosure here, you will most likely see me exhibiting
example A or B on a hot day at the carnival when a balloon goes flying off into
space. I am trying though! We know Jesus had feelings that were expressed in
the Bible and those feelings which we also have were created by God. The Bible
even tells us to be angry and sin not. So today’s assignment is to try and
allow some of those feelings to be expressed both for our children and for
ourselves.


This is Day 8 of a 31 day series. To view the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.

By | October 8th, 2014|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|5 Comments

31 Days of Teachable Parenting

 

Day 1: Introduction (scroll down to read)
Day 14: CHOICES
 Day 28: Power of Words
Day 31: Be There
Welcome to 31 Days of Teachable
Parenting.
The purpose of this series is
to share with others, and review for myself, what I am LEARNING about letting go
of the controlling mother role and embracing a new mindset as a parent. I put
LEARNING in all caps because I am no expert, but I will be quoting some. The
three books that I will be highlighting throughout the next 30 days are:
Love and Logic by Jim Fay and Charles Fay Ph.D
and Wild Things by Stephen James and David S. Thomas
These 3 parenting
books have absolutely revolutionized the way I interact with my children. Over
the next 30 days I plan to take this opportunity to share my thoughts and notes
with you, as well as my husband who hasn’t had a chance to read all the way through
the books. I hope you’ll join along and by all means leave a comment and let
me know that you’ve stopped by. I will definitely come and say hello on your
blog if you have one.
Tomorrow I will
have my index page and outline all mapped out so that you can see exactly what
is in store for the messymom.com this month. I will also answer any questions
to the best of my ability. As hard as it may be, I look forward to stretching myself in the areas of patience and grace over the next 30 days. It’s sure to be a rewarding season.
By | October 2nd, 2014|Parenting Tips|6 Comments

Building a Language

My first response before I even knew the degree of SJ’s hearing loss was to learn American Sign Language and teach it to her. I never thought it would be be easy, but my original expectations might have been a little unrealistic.

I was already familiar with baby sign language. I figured that if babies can learn to sign before they can talk then this sign language thing should be a breeze, especially for SJ because she’s brilliant! Come to find out it’s not that simple and it has to do with what I wrote about last week in “the Science of Language”. You acquire your first language by being immersed in it and it all happens easily and naturally. It’s called first language acquisition.

Babies hear MILLIONS of words before they ever say their first! They are observing, listening and mentally taking it all in for the first year or so. It’s a critical time developmentally. A deaf baby born in a deaf family is going through the same process except with a manual language. These children are typically raised in deaf culture so they see sign language happening all around them through their parents, teachers, and communities. One of SJ’s therapist says a child needs to see a sign around 100 times before it sticks. I thought I would simply show SJ some signs and teach her how to talk, but I am up against her natural urge of language acquisition which is to imitate, and for the past 2 and a half years she hasn’t seen any proof that the world around her communicates through sign language. Even now, I try to sign quite a bit, but we are still no where near the amount of oral words she would be hearing if she could. I’m not sure if I am making sense, but this whole first language acquisition thing was a recent epiphany for me. I just never thought about it that way.

Realizing your child is at square one trapped in world without language is a tough pill to swallow. It’s different than realizing that they can’t hear, it’s like Okay. Wow, we have a lot of lost time to make up. I explain it to people using Z as an example. Z started watching signing time and learning ASL along with us just a few months ago. As a 4 year old he quickly picked up around 100 words with minimal effort. I can ask Z What is the sign for share? and he’ll show me. The difference between him and SJ (besides that Z is 2 1/2 years older) is that Z already has a language. He knows what share means and has been learning about this word for years, now he is just attaching a sign to it. Just because SJ is deaf it doesn’t mean she is naturally more inclined to pick up sign language, it’s going to be harder for her because of the lack of immersion that I mentioned earlier. Anyway, that was my light bulb moment last month, but taking all this into consideration she is doing awesome. Sometimes I take for granted how much she does communicate with us through ASL. I need to document more of those precious first words that we are seeing from her.

On another note, we got the test results back yesterday and praise the Lord SJ’s brain and ear anatomy looks great. This means the hearing loss is not caused by any shocking unforeseen damage or malformations. That is really good news and now we can move forward with getting a cochlear implant, which is another big ol’ topic that I need to write about sometime. Just another curve on this windy hilly journey that we are on. There are ups and downs, pit stops, and speed bumps, but I am trying to take in all the beautiful scenery along the way and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

By | September 6th, 2012|Babies & Toddlers, Parenting Tips, Special Needs, Uncategorized|2 Comments