"Parenting Q & A with Andy (part 2)" 2012/09/25 - published
Today's post is a continuation of some great questions asked by parents of young children. The goal is to equip you as parents for the #7000days journey of parenting! I'd love to hear your comments and encourage you to re-post this entry on Twitter and Facebook so others can access these game-changing principles.
How to get your kids to listen without yelling?
Tough question. I think we would all have to admit that our kids can get the best of us at times. I catch myself yelling from time to time. I suppose it's the natural response to feeling like I'm not being heard. I raise my voice more and more until I'm yelling. This is obviously not the pattern we want to create in the home. We don't want our kids growing up thinking all we ever did was scream at them. The bottom line is our children need to be trained to listen and respond to our voice. If we constantly yell, it will become normal and then you lose the power of yelling when it's really needed, for instance when there is threat of danger! I am currently working with my children to respond in a very specific and concrete way. This is vital for younger children - you must give them the specific action you are looking for and it must be reasonable. In our home, the specific response when Mom or Dad says their name is to say, "Yes ma'am" AS they physically move her direction! I want a verbal acknowledgment AND a physical response. When we fail to get that response we stop everything and redirect toward that response. Remember, training toward a repeatable pattern is usually more important than what is immediately going on. Once they have done the specific response we require, THEN we move into the situation at hand.
How to deal with an overactive or hyperactive child?
I am usually uncomfortable with labels like "overactive" or "hyperactive." We should be very careful because labels are the culture's way of defining "normal" and "abnormal." The truth is, God makes every child differently. Some are naturally more energetic while others are more subdued. Neither is right or wrong. If you child seems to have lots of energy, you parent him or her (usually boys) accordingly. We must be careful that our expectations are reasonable for active kids. Most kids are active, that's kind of what it means to be a kid! God made children for play and fun. My advice - give them LOTS of play and FUN! I'm a little biased to the energy levels of little boys. I think it's a beautiful and wonderful thing. However, very few public venues allow for what I believe to be God's norm - especially for little boys. For instance, if your child is having trouble at school, then carve out an HOUR before school to let him/her go outside to run and play. YES, before school! A child's energy is like a currency God gives kids to spend each day, the only way they get more is to sleep and earn it. SO, make them spend a bunch of it early in the day. For what it's worth, I think schools should start the day with some form of physical activity for younger kids. I think we would see a huge change in their attention in their studies. Whatever you do, please don't punish a child for his/her high energy. Be reasonable. If the environment surrounding your child is unreasonable for his/her energy level, opt out. That may require you to change schools or stop eating at fancy restaurants or avoiding outings that involve lots of standing around and being quiet. Remember, parenting is a huge imposition in life that should be received as a calling from God to deny self.
How do you handle/teach your 5 year old son to be respectful to Mom and not just Dad?
It is not uncommon for Mom to be taken for granted and Dad to be celebrated. Especially in homes where Mom is a stay-at-home mom, and Dad goes to work all day. Mom is constantly around and Dad is the celebrity that appears every night for dinner. Dads, this is where you step in. You absolutely require your children to honor their mothers. You provide the expectation and the accountability. Dishonorable talk to Mom cannot be tolerated. Likewise, if you find yourself as the favored parent for a season, do not let it go to your head! You model honoring your spouse by serving. This will give your children a living example of what priority and honor looks like. Simply stated, you fulfill your expectations in front of your kids. This eliminates any question of what honoring your mother (or father) means.
How do you instill a strong sense of respect for authority in a child without setting them up to be an easy target to be taken advantage of or abused by an authority figure?
Great question. Obviously, we want to warn our children about potential threats of abuse out there. Often the source of abuse comes through what was thought to be a trusted person. This is where very early on we must clearly explain what respecting people is all about, especially respecting each others' bodies. In addition, we do want to teach appropriate honor of authority. However, if that authority ever crosses the line of respecting your body then it's not right. When someone, even an authority figure, disobeys God's rules about respecting people, our children need to be taught to bring that to you as the parent. If there was any confusion, it can be cleared up. In this approach, you must cultivate an environment that your child considers is safe to share uncomfortable things with you. You must not laugh, make fun or demean in any way their understanding of an experience. This will shut down communication and erode trust. Mom and Dad should be available and willing to hear about anything!
How do you "keep" a little boy pure?
Turn off the TV. Well that's not the entire answer, but it's a big chunk of it. I'm not against TV. My kids watch TV. Here's what I look out for; this list may be helpful for you as well...
A. Sexual content. TV shows, even prime time sitcoms, promote and depict sexuality inappropriately.
B. Violence: Today's TV/movies are very good at making violence look very real. Over exposure to violence will desensitize children to the pain and severity of abuse or death.
C. Unwholesome talk: This almost eliminates all TV. Remember "whatever happens early and often carves a groove." Your child's exposure to speech that is disrespectful, crude, dishonorable, profane or the like, eventually becomes part of their vocabulary. Be careful.
Beyond TV, we must also apply those rules to video games, etc. Protecting purity has more to do with proper training than total avoidance. Eventually, your children will be exposed to this big bad world. The goal is not to train our kids to be fearful but to know how to handle themselves when they face the inevitable impurities of life. I do think kids grow up too fast. I think it's wise to do what we can to keep them young without stunting their growth.
I hope these answers are helpful for you. I will post another entry next week. Thanks for reading!
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